Surprise, surprise... Bush's brain doesn't care for the new "Memogate" movie coming out this week. Given the fact that that entire incident stunk of having Karl Rove's dirty little fingerprints all over it, he can spare me the feigned outrage the audience was treated to on this weekend's Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: I want to take a sharp turn here, because I want to talk about a new movie that is out next Friday. It's called "Truth," and it's about a CBS news report in 2004, just before the presidential election in 2004, which claimed that President Push had gone AWOL from his Air National Guard unit. CBS News report, Dan Rather. Here is a clip from the movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our story was about whether the president fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They want to talk about fonts and forgeries, and they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Karl, the movie portrays Dan Rather and that woman who was his producer in this story, Mary Mapes, almost as if they were Woodward and Bernstein during Watergate.
ROVE: Look, this was an ugly episode in American journalism. We had a producer who had an agenda.
WALLACE: Mary Mapes.
KARL: Mary Mapes. And she worked with her principal, Dan Rather, to produce a smear on President Bush. This movie's named "Truth." It ought to be "The Anatomy of a Smear." Falsified documents from a source who changed his story, the documents that were not verified by CBS' own experts. I mean, it is a devastating example of journalism run amok. I would recommend before anybody go to see the movie, that they google CBS, this is on CBS' web site. Their independent review panel on this incident, and read 30 pages, the 30-page summary of this report. It is devastating about the lack of journalistic integrity by these two individuals.↓ Story continues below ↓
WALLACE: Briefly explain who the main source on the story was.
KARL: The main source is a left-wing former National Guard officer named Burkett, Bill Burkett, who gave Mary Mapes documents that he alleged came from somebody else. They could not get a hold of that somebody else. He later changed his story.
WALLACE: What was the significance of the documents?
ROVE: The documents said that George W. Bush had gone AWOL, that he had refused to take a flying exam and he had not shown up for National Guard duty. And it turned out that the documents were typed in a font that was not available on a typewriter in the 1960s when they were supposedly done, and were forgeries. They had the wrong abbreviations, they were set up wrong, they had signatures in the wrong place, and the author, the supposed author of these, supposedly typed them himself when his widow said he never typed. He didn't type.
WALLACE: Didn't Burkett, I am trying to remember, but didn't Burkett have some kind of a grievance against President Bush?
ROVE: Oh, sure. He was both -- he had both grievances about his treatment at the National Guard that occurred before Bush was president and before Bush was governor, and he was also a left winger who had a bias against Bush and was trying to ingratiate himself with the Kerry campaign. It was a tissue of lies from start to finish. The 30-page summary in a CBS report is devastating. In fact, CBS, which ran this as part of "60 Minutes," issued a statement about the movie. It's worth reading.
WALLACE: Wait, wait. I'm going to read the statement, because one of the things you got to understand -- you may be wondering what this is all about, but this is going to be a big movie. Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, it comes out on Friday. At the time, Dan Rather, who first apologized on the air, and later left CBS, then he sued CBS and said CBS' corporate interests had forced them to go against the movie and to go against him. He sued, the case was thrown out summarily by a judge. CBS now says this about its own report and its own reporters and the movie -- "the film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom."
I guess I have to ask you, Juan, how could Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett and the movie makers here think they're going to get away with this?
WILLIAMS: I don't know that they think they are going to get away with it, Chris. I think they're glorifying, they are creating heroes, and they're doing it at a time when American trust in journalism is abysmally low. People just don't trust journalism right now. And part of it is I think this sense is that journalism is done for corporate reasons, for ratings, or to appeal to one bias or one slant or another, and they just don't trust journalists in the way we used to, the way people once trusted your dad. So what you get is, though, a situation where Karl and I don't agree on much, but let's go to the facts, and the facts are that the documents proved to be fraudulent. The fact is that Dan Rather had to apologize --
ROVE: And his career was ended.
WILLIAMS: But people would argue, Karl, that is the corporation protecting its corporate interests in Washington. They were fearful that Viacom had interests on the table, and that George Bush and the Republicans would punish them. That's where I think it gets crazy.
ROVE: Baloney. Baloney.
WALLACE: You brought up my dad. I will tell you that my father ended up confronting Dan Rather at one point about this, because the executive producer of CBS too had been fired, so had Mary Mapes, and my father said to Rather, you know what, if your team gets fired, you should quit, too.
WILLIAMS: Well, that is the judgment.
ROVE: You left out the best quote from CBS.
WALLACE: Real quick.
ROVE: "It's astounding how little truth there is in 'Truth,' says CBS. There are in fact too many distortions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all."
WALLACE: Should be renamed 'Revisionism.'
That's pretty rich coming from one of the slimiest political operatives of our time, working for one of the worst right wing propaganda outlets of our generation. It would not surprise me one iota to find out that Rove had something to do with those documents sent over to CBS.
The right wing was ready to pounce on them immediately, as though they knew they were coming, and as was pointed out at the time, those documents didn't change the fact that the underlying premise of their reporting about Bush being AWOL from Guard duty was true. It was an all too convenient distraction which just happened to serve the purpose of giving the right an excuse to discredit the entire story.
You can read more about the movie, controversy surrounding it and CBS's response which Rove was reading from in the clip above here: ‘Truth’: Movie Reignites Heated Debate Over ‘60 Minutes II’ Scandal.