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Truth and Duty

The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power

Mary Mapes

St. Martin's Press

It was a great story. A true story. The kind of story any news producer would love to report, nail down and get on the air. And that's just what Mary Mapes and her producing and reporting team did in September, 2004, when Dan Rather anchored their report on President George W. Bush's dereliction of his National Guard duty for CBS News. The firestorm that followed their broadcast trashed Mapes' well-respected career, caused Rather to resign from his anchor chair a year early, and led to an unprecedented "internal inquiry" into the story--chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.

TRUTH AND DUTY is Mapes' account of the often-surreal, always-harrowing fallout she experienced for raising questions about a powerful sitting president. It goes back to examine Bush's political roots as governor of Texas and answers questions about the solidity of the documents at the heart of the National Guard story as well as where they came from. Her book takes readers not just into the newsroom where coverage decisions are made, but out into the field where the real reporting is done. TRUTH AND DUTY is peopled with a colorful and vigorous cast of characters--from Karl Rove to Sumner Redstone, Bill Burkett to Dan Rather--and moves from small-town rural Texas to the deserts of Afghanistan, from hurricane season in Florida to CBS corporate headquarters Black Rock in New York City.

TRUTH AND DUTY is a riveting account of how the public's right to know--or even to ask questions--is being attacked by an alliance of politicians, news organizations, bloggers and corporate America. It connects the dots between the emergence of a kind of digital McCarthyism, a corporation under fire from the federal government, and the decision about what kinds of stories a news network can cover (human interest: yes; political intrigue: no).

An answer to Bernard Goldberg and the thunder from the right, TRUTH AND DUTY is always fast, sometimes furious, and often unexpectedly funny about the collapse of one of America's great institutions.

It was a great story. A true story. The kind of story any news producer would love to report, nail down and get on the air. And that's just what Mary Mapes and her producing and reporting team did in September, 2004, when Dan Rather anchored their report on President George W. Bush's dereliction of his National Guard duty for CBS News. The firestorm that followed their broadcast trashed Mapes' well-respected career, caused Rather to resign from his anchor chair a year early, and led to an unprecedented "internal inquiry" into the story--chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.

TRUTH AND DUTY is Mapes' account of the often-surreal, always-harrowing fallout she experienced for raising questions about a powerful sitting president. It goes back to examine Bush's political roots as governor of Texas and answers questions about the solidity of the documents at the heart of the National Guard story as well as where they came from. Her book takes readers not just into the newsroom where coverage decisions are made, but out into the field where the real reporting is done. TRUTH AND DUTY is peopled with a colorful and vigorous cast of characters--from Karl Rove to Sumner Redstone, Bill Burkett to Dan Rather--and moves from small-town rural Texas to the deserts of Afghanistan, from hurricane season in Florida to CBS corporate headquarters Black Rock in New York City.

TRUTH AND DUTY is a riveting account of how the public's right to know--or even to ask questions--is being attacked by an alliance of politicians, news organizations, bloggers and corporate America. It connects the dots between the emergence of a kind of digital McCarthyism, a corporation under fire from the federal government, and the decision about what kinds of stories a news network can cover (human interest: yes; political intrigue: no).

An answer to Bernard Goldberg and the thunder from the right, TRUTH AND DUTY is always fast, sometimes furious, and often unexpectedly funny about the collapse of one of America's great institutions.

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Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power
CHAPTER 1I woke up smiling on September 9, 2004.My story on George W. Bush's Guard service had run on 60 Minutes the night before and I felt it had been a solid piece. We had worked under tremendous pressure because of the short time frame and the explosive content, but we'd made our deadline and, most important, we'd made news.I was confident in my work and marveled once again at the teamwork and devotion of so many people at 60 Minutes. They really knew how to pull together to get a story on the air. I was also deeply proud
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  • Truth and Duty by Mary Mapes--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt and hear Mary Mapes read from her book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power---a riveting account of how the public's right to know is being attacked by an unholy alliance among politicians, news organizations and corporate America, from the producer at the heart of the 60 Minutes/George Bush National Guard controversy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Mary Mapes

  • For twenty-five years, Mary Mapes has been an award-winning television news producer and reporter--the last fifteen of them for CBS News, primarily for The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and 60 Minutes II. In 2004, her last year at CBS, in addition to the George W. Bush National Guard story, she broke the stories of the existence of Strom Thurmond's unacknowledged bi-racial daughter, Essie Mae Washington, and the Abu Ghraib prison tortures, for which she won a Peabody Award in 2005. She began her career at KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington in 1979. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

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Truth and Duty

The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power

Mary Mapes

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St. Martin's Press

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