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


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Editorial Reviews

Review

<div><div>"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
 
 
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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031235195X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312351953
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. Rupp on December 28, 2008
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.
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30 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Dan - Seattle on January 7, 2006
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By chele_lou on January 1, 2015
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
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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
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43 of 66 people found the following review helpful By myself on June 22, 2006
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.
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22 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mary Mapes' story about President Bush's National Guard service was "fake but accurate" we are told. This book, however, is just fake. Every once in a while I force myself to read a book by someone on the other side of the political divide from myself. This book was a bad choice. Now, Mapes is good at recasting facts and history to present herself in a good light. But the fact is that she was grinding this particular axe for many years, and was delighted to accept "evidence" that was incontrovertibly fake in order to "prove" a story that was equally fake.

This book's real bias is evident from its title. The "power" that Mapes really wants to see is the privilege and power of the media to distort the news, or tell outright lies and get away with it.

American politics will be in a bad way as long as the news media cuts in only one direction, and is infested by political axe-grinders like Mapes. Thank goodness that the internet and other "new media" are rapidly destroying the media Oligopoly's ability to distort the news to the American people.
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