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

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"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) 78 reviews
27 of 36 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.
31 of 42 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
now subsequently Truth and Duty has been pooped out into society June 10 2015
By James David Author of The Coast Guard Oracle - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's of course and interesting story. I was not familiar with Mary Mapes nor was I too familiar with the Bush National Guard story. Honestly, I wasn't impressed. She goes on, in defense, about how she's not an liberal elitist. Naming all these things such as how she grew up on a farm, how she has worked all her life, and even how her best friend's son is in the Marines?!? What the hell are you talking about?! You are somehow trying to pull credit from your friend's son being in the military? I don't know Mary Mapes personally life but I'm going to go out on a limb and say she herself hasn't served in the military. I'm so sick of people who criticize the service of veterans. Especially when they haven't even served themselves. Only fellow veterans should have the right to criticize & judge other people's service. This goes for everyone, including that douchebag Sean Hannity. If you haven't served, shut your mouth and don't judge what veterans gave.

The story is of no surprise. Strings were pulled for Bush to get into the Air National Guard. And the document (wether forged or not) reads that Bush failed to take his physical and has failed to keep up with Guard standards.... So?! Who gives a s***. Mary Mapes just needs to let go of this story. She keeps adding more and more information (many times irrelevant information) to a story that's not even there. She should have recorded her initial backer on the story. She should have covered her tracks and had all her ducks lined up in a row before airing this story. She screwed up and now subsequently Truth and Duty has been pooped out into society
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, while not recanting her story after a visit from Bush attorney Dick Thornburgh, failed to vigorously defend it. Mapes got the story 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 Leutenant Governor Ben Barnes decided that the Gore campaign didn't need Marion Carr Knox's story to win. Oops! Meanwhile, it was very dangerous in Texas for anyone named Patrick Carr.

Five stars would have been in order if Mapes had told us why Ben Barnes sat on his knowledge when he had it in 2000! Was that also part of the big bamboozle and Rather's retirement plan?