The above newsman, currently 83, hasn"t stepped foot inside CBS in nearly 10 years. But he still has actually plenty to report about politics (Trump), network news ("I"m glad Brian Williams is back") and also seeing his best mistake ~ above the big screen. "It"s astounding how small truth over there is in "Truth,"" counters CBS.
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This story an initial appeared in the Oct. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To get the magazine, click below to subscribe.
There is a solitary Emmy in the life room of Dan Rather‘s Upper eastern Side co-op. That is shoved a small haphazardly into the edge of a integrated bookcase that holds household pictures, a portrait that his daughter, Robin, dozens the books and also a framed black-and-white picture of a younger quite with his son, Danjack, taken on a reporting trip to Nixon’s mountain Clemente estate throughout the Watergate scandal. The gold plate ~ above the frostbite is worn almost fully away, exposing the hard, gray nickel underneath. The is the nature of gilding — the luster just lasts so lengthy — and the inevitable consequence of too much handling.
“This one, something taken place to it …” murmurs rather as he rises from an upholstered side chair to choose up the statue. We squint at the engraved inscription: “The Agnew Resignation.”
“Well, no wonder it’s looking a small droopy,” the laughs.
It’s an ext than 40 year old, awarded for Rather’s 1973 report ~ above the CBS evening News with Walter Cronkite about the resignation the Richard Nixon‘s angry president, Spiro Agnew, under a cloud of corruption charges.
And currently Hollywood inserts a so late chapter right into the saga. Truth, based upon Mapes’ 2005 memoir, dramatizes the episode — through Oscar winners Cate Blanchett and also Robert Redford as Mapes and Rather — in a narrative that depicts them together courageous reporters betrayed through a corporation that cared more about its was standing in Washington 보다 protecting its journalists. The film opens Oct. 16 via Sony pictures Classics.
“It’s astounding how little truth there is in Truth,” says CBS in a statement to THR around the drama. “There are, in fact, too plenty of distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate lock all. The film tries to turn gross errors that journalism and also judgment right into acts the heroism and martyrdom. That’s a disservice not just to the public but to journalists across the world who go the end every day and also do every little thing within their power, periodically at great risk come themselves, to get the story right.” (The machines of Truth fired earlier with a declare of their own: “Although we understand CBS wants to placed this illustration behind them, it’s disappointing that they it seems ~ to it is in so concerned about our film … we hope world will see the film and judge for themselves.”)
Director James Vanderbilt — a screenwriter who adjusted Robert Graysmith‘s books around San Francisco’s Zodiac serial killer for the David Fincher-directed movie — optioned Mapes’ book soon after reading a 2005 excerpt in Vanity Fair. Mapes originally was cynical to permit Hollywood to get its hand on her story. “She was still in the swirl of it and in a tiny bit the a protective crouch,” says Vanderbilt. “So ns asked Robert Graysmith to compose her a letter, to usually say he’s not a monster, he’s a quite guy, and you should consider talking come him.”
Rather and Mapes have no main credit top top the film. And both speak they originally were doubtful that their story ever before would do it to the screen. Fairly met through Vanderbilt and Brad Fischer, Vanderbilt’s partner at manufacturing shingle Mythology Entertainment and a producer ~ above Truth, shortly after Mapes granted the option. “Somebody comes to you and also says, ‘We desire to do a movie about one of the darkest durations in your life,’ ” says Fischer. “To go together with that take away a good degree of trust.”
During our two hours together in his life room, rather says repeatedly that he is “at peace” and that he’s “moved on.” In countless ways he has; at 83, the still works complete time and also travels constantly. But it likewise is clear the he will certainly never gain over it.
“CBS,” states Rather, his voice almost a whisper, “has a an excellent history of backing the reporters, Ed Murrow v McCarthy, Cronkite through the Vietnam War, myself and others during Watergate. The movie has brought it ago into focus. I have actually been and also still am trying to be deep into humility and modesty, thankful for gift able to do a living at this. I mean, CBS may have correspondents and anchors that are better at it than I’ve ever before been. However they haven’t had anybody who functioned harder and cared more about the people and the place that CBS is — that is history, its heritages — 보다 I did. And still do.”
Rather had actually an almost mythical, Zelig-like existence in the second fifty percent of the 20th century. He to be on the motorcade course in Dallas top top Nov. 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was shot, and on countless battlefields the Vietnam. As CBS News’ White house correspondent throughout the Nixon administration, that was amongst the president’s many reliable antagonists, and also his report from the prior lines throughout the Soviet war in Afghanistan, attract a mujahideen headdress, earned that the nickname “Gunga Dan.” quite never might resist racing to the scene of a large storm, even though, as he put it, he “was increased by world who teach me to fear only God and also hurricanes.” after years as a correspondent, he replaced Cronkite at the helm that CBS evening News in 1981 and often to be the an initial of the big three anchors come fly right into a hotspot, forcing ABC’s Peter Jennings and NBC’s Tom Brokaw come follow. Charismatic, inspiring and with a aggressive moral code that prized loyalty, he to be a favorite amongst field producers.
“Dan was very loyal to world who worked hard because that him,” notes Jim Murphy, who was Rather’s executive producer during his last five years top top CBS night News. “He to be a gentleman, i m sorry is a an extremely pleasant thing as soon as you’re on the road in lousy places. And also he’d put up through what anybody else can put increase with. The was never ever a prima donna in the field. He might be a prima donna in details ways due to the fact that he to be a large star, yet not once it came to dealing with dirt in Afghanistan.”
Truth choose up Rather’s story in October 2004, opening with a scene in i beg your pardon Blanchett, together Mapes, mr a Xanax together she prepares to go over her testimony to the independent dashboard enlisted by CBS to investigate the debacle. “It is just one of the most challenging things I’ve ever before gone with in my life,” says Mapes, who lives in Dallas and also writes for plan groups and also corporations and works together a ghostwriter. “But Dan never ever turned top top me, he never ever blamed me, he never made me feel bad, he never made me feel like a failure. The course, i did all that to myself, on some level. But Dan was very loyal.”
Mapes and Rather were attacked for their viewed liberal bias. And Mapes was the target that a barrage of misogynist insults. In one scene, Blanchett scrolls v a litany of vile anonymous comments before slamming she laptop shut. “It’s tragically normal currently to watch someone gain chewed up and spit out on the Internet,” says Mapes. “It wake up every day. Yet that hadn’t occurred before. Us hadn’t had a huge Internet takedown.”
Though rather was compelled to apologize for the report — and also specifically because that using files that could not be authenticated — this day he steadfastly maintains that the story to be factually accurate. “We report a true story,” the says. “There wasn’t any type of doubt then, and also there is no doubt in any kind of reasonable person’s psychic now, the story was true.” This regardless of the truth that the documents’ source — Bill Burkett, retired lieutenant colonel indigenous the Texas Air nationwide Guard and a known bush critic — lied come them about where he acquired them.
The independent investigation — which to be led by Dick Thornburgh, a veteran of the administrations of Nixon and George H.W. Bush, and Louis Boccardi, former president the the connected Press — concluded in a report exit in January 2005 the Mapes, Rather and also others associated in the story disregarded “fundamental journalistic principles.” and while the panel stopped quick of labeling the documents forgeries, serious concerns were raised about their authenticity.
“We gain to see just how our media is packaged and delivered come us and also then how it all falls apart,” the says.
He’d been functioning on the manuscript off and on for number of years. And also in march 2014, the day after Blanchett won an Oscar for Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, he sent her the script. 3 months later, she signed on. Redford, that famously played Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in 1976’s All the President’s Men, soon followed.
Rather states he was stunned into silence once Vanderbilt told the Redford would certainly play him. He an initial met the gibbs — a veteran environmentalist — ago in the 1970s, when Redford called 60 Minutes to persuade the newsmagazine to execute a piece about plans because that coal-fired power plants throughout the Southwest states, consisting of Utah, wherein Redford is a longtime homeowner. Rather came to be the correspondent ~ above the piece.
“This is an additional example to me of
Cuban is effusive around Rather. “I have actually yet come stump that on present or historical events,” wrote Cuban in one email. “Not only deserve to he recount almost any situation, but he will offer you an anecdote the somehow associate him to it.”
With particle money indigenous Cuban (Cuban won’t say how much), Rather also is pitching projects through his independent production company News & Guts. He’s reluctant to say too lot “because human being steal ideas.” yet he reveals the there is attention from a cable network in one unscripted travelogue series informed through his occupational as a journalist in foreign datelines.
“I learned as a younger reporter that the quickest method to learn about the civilization is to easily go view a birth, a wedding and a funeral. That will certainly tell friend a great deal around the society and ethos the the country,” the explains. “So we have actually this idea the pairing a young reporter with a much more experienced reporter, possibly myself.”
He additionally recently signed on together a contributor at the website Mashable, whereby he to write columns about significant news events and hosts an interview program dubbed Drinking v Dan, wherein he newly questioned comedian Josh Ostrovsky, aka The Fat Jew, about accusations that joke-stealing. (After Ostrovsky concluded a long-winded and also twisted denial, rather asks: “Now, ~ above a four-eyes basis, man-to-man, what are the opportunities that what you’ve just provided me is just a blizzard that bullshit?”)
Rather interviewed then-presidential candidate George W. Bush inside the Governor’s Mansion in Austin in 2000.
All that this necessitates a peripatetic way of living that is unusual for a man in his 80s; throughout a current week, he travel from Austin (where he has actually a 2nd home) to brand-new York come Canada (for the Toronto film Festival premiere the Truth) to Nashville (to interview Connie Britton because that his AXS show) to Savannah, Ga., to Bentonville, Ark., come Tulsa, Okla., come Dallas come Los Angeles to Palm Springs, ago to L.A. And back to brand-new York. His wife, Jean (they’ve to be married 58 years), security a fair amount of time in Austin — “We’re both fifth-generation Texans,” that says.
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His take trip schedule does not enable much TV, yet he watches the news when he can. He provides ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir a “tip the the Stetson” for his interview v Pope Francis. He additionally tilts his hat to Donald Trump — “I claimed at the start he’s smarter than civilization think” — but is skeptical of the Republican frontrunner’s on-again, off-again feud through Fox News and also its chairman, Roger Ailes. “I’m not arguing a conspiracy — I’m just saying ns think each understands the other’s needs.” Occasionally, Rather also finds time to tune in come his old show on CBS. “I respect 60 Minutes,” he says. “I great they did an ext investigative reporting.”
If he has an opinion on much more recent TV news controversies — prefer 60 Minutes‘ proved-to-be-false story about the assaults on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi (correspondent Lara Logan still has actually her job; she contract was expanded last summer) — he’s maintaining them come himself. “I’m not an government on just how they handled that case, however I will certainly say: different time, different story, different set of circumstances. It’s a different case. The Brian Williams case is a separate case.”
Rather publicly protected Williams throughout his very own credibility dilemm at NBC. While Williams to be sitting out his six-month suspension, quite says he got to out to the previous Nightly News anchor. “I don’t want to enter it because it’s personal,” is every he’ll to speak of the conversation. “I’m happy to watch him back, and I wish him well.”
Still, it’s been almost 10 years since Rather last collection foot inside CBS News headquarters top top West 57th Street, his professional home for an ext than four decades. His 2012 memoir, Rather Outspoken, is missing any note of contrition. He claims he does not regret the lawsuit. That won’t say exactly how much it price him, other than that it was “very expensive.” (Sources in ~ CBS News estimate that the spent between $3 million and also $5 million; quite contends CBS Corp. Invested $20 million defending itself.) He to be warned that had tiny chance ofprevailing, but he went ahead anyway: “I wanted to uncover out what really happened, together opposed come what I had actually been told happened. Part things room worth fighting for, also if girlfriend lose.
“I have a the majority of flaws and a most vulnerabilities,” he claims at the finish of the two-hour interview. “I’ve do a most mistakes. I have actually a lot of wounds, several of them self-inflicted, some of them still partially open. However I’m a fighter.”