Bruce Greenwood: Right Wing Swamped ‘Truth’ in RatherGate

Veteran character actor defends his role in Robert Redford's journo feature

Bruce Greenwood is getting a crash course in journalism for his latest role.

The character actor recently wrapped his scenes in “Truth,” which revisits how Dan Rather’s career capsized after his report on President George W. Bush’s military record got exposed by conservative blogs like Power Line.

The film, starring Robert Redford as Rather and based on CBS producer Mary Mapes’ 2006 memoir, is set to hit theaters later this year.

Truth Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford Drama HD

Greenwood, who plays Mapes’ boss in the film, contends what we know about Rathergate is mostly fiction, and he knows why.

The incident “reflected poorly, ultimately, on CBS and Viacom who were unwilling to pursue the truth because there was legislation forthcoming that if they didn’t play ball with the [Bush] administration the legislation would have cost them millions and millions and millions of dollars,” Greenwood says. “Rather than allow Mary Mapes and Dan Rather to support their story, they allowed this avalanche of right-wing resistance to swamp the real story.”

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Greenwood’s take on Rathergate’s fallout? Modern journalists are “under the thumb” of the powers that be, not the news cycle.

“[‘Truth’] reminds you the stories that are told on CBS, NBC and the major networks, to some degree, are a function of what their brass is willing to address, and what their brass is willing to address has everything to do with their bottom line,” he says.

He complains that even Wikipedia has it wrong when it comes to Rathergate, according to his viewpoint.

“It’s a reminder that if bull-expletive is repeated often enough it becomes perceived truth, conventional wisdom,” he says.

CBS News’ 2004 report relied on documents from an ex-Texas National Guard officer casting a harsh light on Bush’s military record. Those documents were quickly attacked as forgeries by new media journalists, a charge neither Rather nor Mapes could realistically refute.

An independent investigation led by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi found CBS’s report didn’t “follow basic journalistic principles.” Four CBS employees lost their jobs in the Rathergate fallout, including Mapes.

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Rather announced he would be retiring from his anchor chair prior to the investigation’s release. He later sued CBS for $70 million, claiming the network unfairly pinned the blame for the maligned story on him. The suit was dismissed in 2009.

Rather continues to defend the report, but despite hiring private investigators to find the truth has yet to produce evidence to back up his claim beyond the debunked documents.

Greenwood admits Rather and Mapes didn’t perform their duties flawlessly in the case.

“Could they have been smarter about how they pursued it and how they presented it? Oh sure,” he says.


  1. Marion Carr Knox’s totally believable interview with Rather was stripped from the Vanderbilt script of Truth? Gen. Belasarius Flores who Mapes included in the book, Truth and Duty, was relegated to the last name on a chalkboard list of unreachable witnesses when he was a solid backer of Knox’s story in the book?

    This film was a Bush family propaganda piece in 2015/16 to support JEB’s Presidential aspirations, as much as Patricia Goldstone’s 2015 book, Interlock, by the publisher of Hatfield’s book, Fortunate Son, from 1999/2000 was a GWB hit job.

    Mapes had this story in 2000 but didn’t report it then because as Vanderbilt show “her mother died”. And CBS didn’t have a contingency plan for this “the dog ate my homework” excuse for covering a monumental issue for a Presdential candidate?

  2. The rathergate document was proven beyond any doubt to be a modern forgery and a very very poor one produced in Microsoft word. The document simply could not have been created by the technology available at the time. This is more evidence that democrats are either liars or they are incredibly stupid low information voters who don’t know how stupid they are when they accept the lies of their fellow totalitarian oligarch democrats

  3. So now we see that Robert Redford, et al. plan to make “Truth” the Rathergate version of “Loose Change.” I’m seeing practically “straight to video” on this, but no doubt next year it’ll receive more Academy Award nominations than “Ben Hur.”

  4. I haven’t enjoyed Robert Redford since “The Natural”. it’s that left wing arrogance that did him in for me. He’s very successful but age has not been good to him at all.

  5. Have Rather and Mapes ever found “Lucy Ramirez” who produced those comically fraudulent “1960s era typewriter-written memos” on twenty-first century Microsoft Word software?

  6. Not only were the documents fake, but CBS coordinated the report with Democratic Party operatives. “Could have been smarter”? That’s like saying Michael Moore “could have been slimmer”…

  7. The documents weren’t “attacked as forgeries.” They were proven to be forgeries. Proven undeniably to be forgeries.

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