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Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power Hardcover – Nov 8 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (Nov. 8 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031235195X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312351953
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.3 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,721,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Ms. Mapes details her rise and fall with a considerable amount of flair and self-deprecating humor…Simply put, she is woman, hear her roar--on behalf of both her instilled patriotism and her journalistic integrity….TRUTH AND DUTY is a good read from start to finish."--The Dallas Morning News
"Mapes musters a controlled, readable narrative about the story that became her professional undoing…the story…builds by increments (including) the memos themselves, and how they mesh--in ways large and small, in nuance and substance--with Bush's official Guard records."--The Washington Post Book World
"It's an illuminating look into journalism and the challenges reporters face in an era of blogging, instant Internet analysis, corporate ownership and network news starts."--The Buffalo News
"In…TRUTH AND DUTY, [Mapes] comes across as the kind of rip-snorting rodeo rider of the news I would have killed to work with as an editor. Her gallop through such Mapes-produced '60 Minutes II' scoops as securing Karla Faye Tucker's death row interview or tracking down Strom Thurmond's black illegitimate daughter or exposing the atrocities of Abu Ghraib gives us a heart-racing glimpse of a resourceful TV pro in her fearless prime."--Tina Brown
"TRUTH AND DUTY is a plainspoken…oftentimes sympathetic look at how the National Guard story came to be and why it fell apart."--The New York Observer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

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 chronicle 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 77 reviews
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Book; Delusional Author Dec 28 2008
By A. Rupp - Published on
Format: Paperback
The 60 Minutes II piece on President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service has become such a political football that it is almost impossible to analyze the simple question of whether CBS should have run with it or not. Although the book was entertaining, I was unimpressed with Ms. Mapes's defense of the story and her own motivations. She tells us on page 20 that she will reveal who she is and what she believes -- "with some trepidation" -- and then proceeds to do nothing of the sort, using an old straw-man technique and sarcasm to suggest (but not state) that she is not "an elitist liberal."

Most maddening is her inability to understand that criticism of her journalism and CBS's decision to air the story are warranted EVEN IF the documents later proved to be authentic -- something that remains a subject of intense debate even today. Mapes's "ends-justify-the-means" defense is so mind-numbingly illogical, so lacking in common sense, that it does even more to harm her journalistic reputation than to help it. Note to Mapes: If you had decided that the documents were authentic based on the flip of a coin, would it really matter if, later, after you aired the story, they were proven accurate by more acceptable means? Can't you see the inanity of your position?

Mapes also appears to suffer from smartest person in the room syndrome, repeatedly arguing that her efforts to "mesh" the new documents with Bush's official records showed no inconsistencies. How could it be, she argues, that a forger could create documents that so seemlessly meshed with the official record, with no contradictions? Note to Mapes: That is EXACTLY what a forger would do. The official records were in the public domain and had been known for years. You are not the only person smart enough to determine what "meshed" with them and what didn't. Your rhetorical questions throughout the book about what a forger would or would not do demonstrate your gullibility and your naivete.

I also found it odd that Mapes -- who desperately wants to be seen as having no political agenda when it comes to her work -- repeatedly makes unnecessary (and often almost childish) political statements that are critical of Bush, Republican policies, and the political right. Perhaps Mapes does not even realize when she is being partisan.

Frankly, I was amazed that this book was the best Mapes could do to support CBS's decision to air the story. Her sources were suspect, her research gap-filled. I'm willing to take her word that she didn't intend to further a political agenda. She seems like a hard-working, pleasant, and loyal person. But this book has left me wondering how anyone can trust anything on the news. If a long-time journalist like Mapes thinks that she had enough hard evidence to go with this important story, I can only imagine what would be deemed satisfactory evidence for the thousands of stories of lesser importance.

I recommend the book. Although not particularly well-written or organized, I found Mapes's behind-the-scenes descriptions of reporting techniques interesting.
30 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Warning Jan. 7 2006
By Dan - Seattle - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a warning to people who use the networks as their only source of news. The alphabet networks are anything but unbiased. I long for the "good old days" when all they did was report the news, with integrity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hard hitting influence of politics, money and people in places of 'power'! Jan. 1 2015
By chele_lou - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A memoir that reminds you of the power of politics and money, plus the influence social media can play in influencing the publics thinking. Mary thought she had a valid strong investigative case on Bushes questionable military service... little did she know this would implode on her both personally and professionally
Mape and Rather Got It Right....and the U.S. Got Bamboozled! March 13 2015
By Willhcarr - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mapes and Rather were bushwacked! Marion Carr Knox, mother of Patrick Carr, recanted her story after a visit from Bush attorney Dick Thornburgh. Mapes got it right. Must read introduction to the book Sulfur, Lead and Poppies and One Nation Under Oz to get the fuller picture, but get this one first for the background on the others. Knox's story as the typist of the memos was available in 2000 as the Supreme Court was jiggling the hanging chad fiasco and election decision in Florida that should have demanded a state-wide recount, but former Texas Attorney General Ben Barnes decided that the Gore campaign didn't need Marion Carr Knox's story to win. Oops! Meanwhile, it was vary dangerous in Texas for anyone named Patrick Carr.

W.H. Carr
43 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Can I Prove the Memos Didn't Happen? June 22 2006
By myself - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been through chapter one of Marry Mapes' book; I also have been through the Thornburgh-Boccardi report. There are so many misrepresntations of fact in Chapter One, I will not waste my time with the rest of the book.

Free Republic web logger "Buckhead" is not the only person with decades of computer publishing experience who spotted the CBS memos as not 1970s typewritten documents. Mapes sets "Freeper blogger Buckhead" up as a demonized strawman to distract attention away from the documents themselves.

I worked at Kingsport Press for thirty-four years in computer assisted typesetting, starting with IBM 1130 punching paper tape to drive Linotype linecasters, through the VideoComp and Linotron typesetters, ending with various Mac and Win PCs producing PostScript.

When I followed Joseph Newcomer's demonstration on the Web that the CBS memos were typeset recently and were not typewritten in the 1970s, it was like Composition 101. I followed along with PDFs of the four CBS memos downloaded from their website. Plus a PDF of an authenticated Lt Col Killian memo promoting Lt Bush in Nov 1970. Plus my experience typesetting hundreds of books and quarterly journals, and creating dozens of fonts for the VideoComp, Linotron, and Postscript typesetters.

The fact that another typesetter "Buckhead" found the same flaws confirms my observations.

The bottom line is: those memos could not have been created on TexANG clerk-typist Knox's Olympia typewriter; although Knox did receive an IBM Selectric (after Bush left the TexANG) she did not receive the "Executive" or the "Composer" models; even with those models, she could not have done the kerning of letter pairs, like "fr", which is shown in the CBS memos. At the time those memos were allegedly written, Lt Col Killian's office used an Olympia and did not use any model of IBM Selectric until 1975.

In the 1970s I had access to a RCA GSD VideoComp 830 with Times-Roman font; I could with great difficulty have produced copies of the CBS memos on a machine that cost the Press $500,000. Sept 2004 I was able to make a mirror-image of one of the CBS memos in minutes by just typing the text into Microsoft Word default settings for Truetype Times New Roman on my son's old PC.

I went a step further: I captured Killian's signature off the validated Nov 1970 memo. I tweaked pointsize and setwidth of Postscript Courier Bold to match the Olympia typewriter font and offset the Courier figures 35679 to mimic Olympia Old Style figures. Following the Nov 1970 memo TexANG document style, I created my own "Killian" memo placing FDR guiding the Pearl Harbor attack and Harry S Truman shooting the UFO aliens at Roswell NM. I pasted in Killian's signature and printed the memo. I then crumpled the printed document, rubbed it on the floor to get random dust specks, scanned it slightly off center, and violin! I had my own 60 Minutes quality documentation, that "meshed" with the official record: FDR was president 7 Dec 1941 and HST was president in 1947.

Mary Mapes has the documentation standards of Criswell in Plan Nine From Outer Space: "Can you prove it didn't happen?"

Problems with the CBS memos are not limited to the style or form.

May 4, 1972 Lt Col Killian orders Lt Bush to report for a physical examination no later than May 14, 1972.
- In TexANG squadron officers did not write orders for flight physical exams.
- Physical exams were routinely scheduled based on officer's birth date.
- There is no record of Lt Col Killian writing orders for physical exams.
- Officialy Bush could take his exam as late as 31 Jul 72.

May 19, 1972 File memorandum, Lt Col Killian discusses Lt Bush transfer request to Alabama for personal reasons
- This does mesh well with Bush's efforts to transfer to non-flying status so he could live and do political work in Alabama.

August 1, 1972 Lt Col Killian verbally orders Lt Bush suspended from flight status.
- Bush's suspension from flying status was actually handled by Col Harris, and the tone of Harris' memo is routine and not at all like this memo attributed to Killian.
- Standard Texas Air National Guard abbrv. was 'TexANG' not 'USAF/TexANG'.
- Lt Col Killian abbreviated 'lieutenant' as 'Lt' not 'Lt.' period.
- There was a 'flight evaluation board' but NO 'flight review board.'
- Lt Col Killian and Tex Air NG did not use the Army term 'billet.'

There are many clues that the author was not Lt Col Killian TexANG.

June 24, 1973 Lt. Colonel Killian authors a Memorandum to 'Sir,' about Bush not receiving a TexANG annual evaluation while stationed in Alabama.
- Again, the real Lt Col Killian did not put a period after 'Lt' or 'Lt Col'
- Killian abbreviated Fighter Interceptor Squadron as 'FIS' not as 'F. I. S.'
- Lt Col Killian never addressed memos to 'Sir' and was very strict about addressing people by their rank and name, another clue that the author was not Killian.
- Otherwise, this meshes with Bush's transfer to non-flying status in Alabama.

August 18, 1973 Lt. Colonel Killian authors a CYA File Memorandum stating as follows:

1. Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job. Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it: Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate. Austin is not happy today either.
2. Harris took the call from Grp today. I'll back date but won't rate. Harris agrees.

- General Staudt had been retired for at least 17 months by the date ascribed to this memo and by all TexANG sources had no involvement with TexANG internal affairs after his retirement.
- Group is abbreviated as "Gp" in all other TexANG memos, not "Grp".
- 'OETR' is not the correct TexANG abbreviation for Officer Efficiency/Training Report (OER), another clue that the author was NOT TexANG.

Well before the segment aired, the four document examiners hired by CBS tried to warn CBS that there were problems with authenticating the documents. Mapes in her five year crusade against Bush refused to listen. When the "holy grail" the obviously faked documents were posted in PDF format on the CBS website, people with font and type composition experience got to see them and raised questions. Mapes and Rather dismissed critics with the sign-off "FTA" F--- Them All. Mapes and Rather both were arrogant and full of themselves to the bursting point.

Mary, Dan and fans: I hope you live long, learn the error of your ways, and repent.

Before writing this, I downloaded and read fifty-nine Amazon revoews of "Truth and Duty." Quite frankly, the blindness of the Bush-haters and Mapes-idolizers does not speak well for the future of America's left wing.

ADDED 16 Aug 2014: A few months after I posted this review (based on the Look Ahead! preview chapter), I got a remaindered copy of "Truth and Duty" HB at the 99 Cent store for, well, 99 cents. There are factual details in the Thornburgh-Boccardi Report (available at the CBS website here: ) are glossed over or omitted from Mary Mapes' account.

Mapes claimed: p.7 "I was told the first posting claiming the documents were fakes had gone up on Free Republic before our broadcast was even off the air! How had the website even gotten copies of the documents?" The "Buckhead" postings (by attorney Harry W. MacDougald) were dated and timestamped after CBS posted the PDFs on-line for download and over three hours after the report was aired. p.200 "What made MacDougald such an instant authority on typography and its history? Who knew? Who cared?" Among other things, one of attorney MacDougald specializations was document authentification, that's what. Mapes didn't know, didn't care. He wasn't an instant authority; it took years.

And her insistence that the Bill Burkett documents meshed with the official records overlooks one thing: the official records had been a political football in 1999-2000 and were available in the public domain. It was no great feat for "Lucy Ramirez" or Texas Army National Guardsman Burkett or anyone for that matter to concoct fake documents with "new revelations" that "meshed" in other ways. With Burkett's use of army national guard lingo in alleged air national guard memos it was a poor mesh at that.