You Won’t See Ads for the Dan Rather Drama ‘Truth’ On CBS
Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford‘s latest drama, Truth, about a controversial CBS News segment, is already garnering a large amount of its own controversy. The film opens in theaters this Friday, but you won’t see any trailers for it on CBS.
In the film from director James Vanderbilt, Blanchett portrays 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, who was fired by CBS News in 2005, alongside Redford as former anchor Dan Rather. Truth tells the story of the infamous 60 Minutes II report from 2004 that questioned then-President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. The report was soon after attacked by analysts at other networks who claimed CBS based their reporting off of forged military documents. The media scandal led the network to hire a panel to investigate Mapes and Rather’s reporting, and ended in the eventual firing of the producer and, it is believed, Rather’s retirement.
But CBS is far from pleased with the film and, unsurprisingly, won’t be promoting it at all. According to The Associated Press, CBS rejected Sony Pictures Classics' multimillion dollar ad sales for promo spots on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning. The network confirmed their rejection of the ads to The AP and told Sony’s advertising agency that they were uncomfortable promoting the movie due to its inaccuracies and distortions in portraying CBS. This is hardly a surprise since in the film it is implied that the network was pressured by its corporate owners Viacom to investigate Mapes and her 60 Minutes II team and for Rather’s on-air apology for the segment. Topher Grace's reporter Mike Smith even has a heated monologue against Viacom.
Though CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves saw an early screening of Truth, he reportedly didn’t ask the producers to make major changes to the script. THR reported that he and his staff claimed the film was a “half-truth.” A spokesman for CBS recently condemned the film for celebrating Mapes and Rathers’ “gross errors of journalism.” The spokesman told Variety, “It’s astounding how little truth there is in Truth.”
While CBS’s Sunday Morning was reportedly considering to invite Redford as a guest on the talk show, executive producer Rand Morrison allegedly called off the possible interview, according to The AP. But Blanchett somehow managed to slip through the cracks. The actress appeared on The Late Show earlier this month and talked to Colbert about her role in the film. Nobody says no to the Blanchett, not even CBS, apparently.