Truth and Duty by Mary Mapes

book jacketTruth and Duty: The press, the president, and the privilege of power by Mary Mapes (2005)

I do not recall how I came to watch the movie “Truth” — maybe I saw the author on Book TV, or a promo on another video, but it was fascinating to understand what all the fuss was about back in 2004 about George W. Bush’s reserve duty in the early 70s. I remembered that at some point Dan Rather ending up retiring but I did not really understand that there was a relationship between his retirement and what I thought of as a minor kerfuffle about W’s service duty. Well, it was not so minor after all. And I am confident that over the next few decades, more truth will be revealed about both W’s failure to perform his duties as required.

In the appendix, she details official documents and describes of the Killian papers and others and how they were used to document the case presented on CBS news (60 Minutes) by Dan Rather. Mary Mapes was the “producer” a job I have no ideal what it actually means, but basically sounds like a lead researcher for news stories that gathers evidence and presents it to people like Dan Rather to deliver on TV or the radio. She had won Peadbody awards for breaking news like Abu Ghraib, and Strom Thurmond’s unacknowledged biracial daughter, reconciled and open now, but demonstrating the bizarre and hypocritical stance of the [now dead after 100 years; that’s what government healthcare can do for you!) old coot’s stand against desegregation.

Mary Mapes was fired for her role in the “Killian Papers” report, as was the woman senior  vice president for CBS primetime news programs (it’s always the women that get the most negative retaliation, another woman and a man were also fired.). If someone bothered — but I am sure not worth the effort — they could probably reconstruct where all W was during this time (theoretically working on a Republican’s campaign for senator in Alabama, but not necessarily doing duty in the Guard). One of the comments in official documents was that he hadn’t been “sighted” on the base where he was supposed to be. And why did he want to transfer to Alabama in the first place?

The president’s [premature] dramatic flight onto an aircraft carrier in May 2003 to announce the end of ‘major combat operations’  and declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ in the Iraq war was the ultimate marriage of his brief military background and modern political mythmaking. The president looked great [gag] in the flight suit addressing America and its forces. But when he was being paid to wear it, fly planes, and protect the country, that military outfit and the obligations it entailed apparently couldn’t compete with the CHANCE TO WORK ON A SENATE CAMPAIGN IN ALABAMA. (p. 138)

The fact that his daddy was “an up and coming politician with strong Republican ties and a big future. Then Congressman George H. W. Bush wrote a letter to his son’s commander at Moody, commending him and thanking him for the special care and attention shown his son.” (p. 64)

No one had a clue that it would be George W. who would become George the Second. It was supposed to be Jeb. The difference obviously was that Karl Rove met George and blew that plan out of the water.

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