More on the Biggest Lie of the Year: The Movie “Truth”

This is from Scott Johnson at


This past October 16 the Rathergate film Truth opened in more than a thousand theaters around the country. John and I warned viewers not to take the film at face value in the Weekly Standard article “Rather shameful.” On the film’s opening weekend the Star Tribune also carried my column reminding readers of the film’s factual background. The column was published as “Lies upon lies: The sad state of the movie ‘Truth.’”

Now the film is out on DVD and in rotation on cable television. I watched it again yesterday on Starz. If you know anything about the “truth,” so to speak, it is an utterly infuriating film.

Despite the film’s commercial failure, I think the lies of Truth matter. They are intended to rewrite the historical record and to vindicate an audacious journalistic fraud committed with the intent of influencing the outcome of an American presidential election. The left simply does not give up in its efforts to rewrite history. It is unrelenting. And it has highly effective tools of persuasion at its disposal.

The New York Times of course made itself a fool for Truth. I wrote about that here in “The Times stumbles onto…” and in the City Journal column Truth and the New York Times.” In the matter of Truth, the Times has earned itself special recognition in the hall of shame.

On the weekend of the film’s release I posted my notes on the film here. In retrospect, I think these notes explore certain elements of the film from angles that others have overlooked and that they warrant repetition in the context of the film’s current distribution.

• The film is based on Mary Mapes’s 2005 memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power. I provided my take on the book when it was published in 2005 in the Weekly Standard column “Second Time’s a Charm?” I thought it was an egregiously bad book.

• What about the film? It’s not as good as the book.

• The best reviews of this bad film may be the ones by the Atlantic’s Christopher Orr and the New York Post’s Kyle Smith. Orr’s is “A terrible, terrible movie about journalism.” Smith’s is“Wacko Dan Rather movie still insists forged Bush-National Guard documents were real.”

• The movie dramatizes the scene in which Mapes answers a query from the Thornburgh panel about the use of the nonexistent abbreviation O.E.T.R. in one of the fabricated Killian memos. It’s in Mapes’s memoir at pages 277-278. In the book and the movie, Mapes triumphantly cites the copy of an authentic Air National Guard document with the abbreviation. William Campenni served in the same unit as President Bush. He explains why the abbreviation in the fabricated Killian memo is like seeing a digital wristwatch on a supposedly authentic portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. Campenni’s column is“The truth about Dan Rather’s deceptive reporting on George W. Bush.” The column was only recently posted online at the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal site. I highly recommend Bill’s column for advanced students of Rathergate and viewers of the film.

• Like a Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western, the film is full of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

• The good: Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and Mapes’s team of disinterested seekers of the truth.

• The bad: The evil forces around President Bush who scared off those in the know in Texas from disgorging the deep secrets of President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. CBS/Viacom management. The “bloggers.”

• The ugly: They’re bad too! But they’re also ugly: the lawyers who made up the Thornburgh panel commissioned by CBS to issue the report determining how that 60 Minutes story ever got on the air. I think Mapes is lucky that the lawyers feel constrained from commenting on their portrayal in the book or in the film.

• CBS appointed Richard Thornburgh to conduct the investigation. In the film Thornburgh is described inaccurately as a twice-defeated candidate for Congress whose campaign was managed by Karl Rove. The implication is that the investigation will be in the service of Rove’s interests. Karl Rove: he’s bad.

• Thornburgh was a former United States Attorney, a former two-term governor of Pennsylvania, and former Attorney General of the United States. It’s an impressive résumé that is elided in the film’s ludicrous description of him.

• Thornburgh resigned as Attorney General to run a losing campaign for the United States Senate. Rove conducted direct mail advertising for him in the campaign. With an unpaid bill of nearly $170,000 at the end of the campaign, Rove sued Thornburgh personally on the debt. So if you want a buddy of Karl Rove who can be counted on to do Rove’s bidding, Thornburgh is your man. Obviously.

• The conceit of the film is that Mapes and her band of happy warriors were just “asking questions.” The phrase is the film’s central motif. Orr writes, for example: “[M]y notes include, among others, the lines ‘Questions help us get to the truth,’ ‘You stop asking questions, that’s when the American people lose,’ and ‘You’re supposed to question everything, that’s your job[.]’” The 60 Minutes story asked a couple of questions, alright, but it’s the answers that failed spectacularly. The answers were fraudulent duds.

• Both the book and the movie depict the investigation conducted by Thornburgh as a McCarthyite witch hunt. Mapes uses the term in her book. The film gives us one of those insufferable throw-down-the-microphone speeches in which Mapes challenges the Thornburgh panel: “Are you saying am I now or have I ever been a liberal?” In the book, Mapes describes the taunt as a joke. In the film, she is as earnest as Billy Graham on one of his crusades.

• Although the book and the movie disparage the Thornburgh investigation, they both draw on the Thornburgh report’s finding that the 60 Minutes story’s deficiencies were not attributable to political bias. In the movie, the statement runs as a graphic postscript before the credits roll. The Thornburgh report also notes in this connection, however, that “certain actions” could support charges that political motivations prompted CBS News to report and air the story. Fortunately for Mapes, the Thornburgh panel didn’t have Mapes’s then unwritten memoir to draw on. It is full of crazed political animus that belies her absolution by the Thornburgh panel.

• So the Killian memos: real or fake? The film has it both ways. It’s in “fake but accurate”territory, but it also leaves Mapes with the last word defending the documents’ authenticity in her concluding speech.

• The film has someone referring to the documents’ typeface as “New Times Roman” (rather than Times New Roman). It’s the only reference to the Killian documents’ typeface in the film. You’d think they would get it right.

• In her memoir Mapes denies that the typeface is Times New Roman. In the film, someone triumphantly asserts that, contrary to the claims of ignorant bloggers, “New Times Roman” was available as of 1931! True. It just wasn’t licensed to typewriters. Its ubiquity is a tribute to Microsoft Word and the era of computerized word processing.

• Bill Burkett was the source of all the fraudulent documents purportedly from the “personal file” of Col. Jerry Killian on which Mapes based the second part of the Rathergate segment. Before the segment was broadcast, Burkett told Mapes that he had received the documents from an unknown source in the mail. He subsequently told Mapes that he had been given the documents by one George Conn, an assertion which Mapes was unable to confirm. After the story was broadcast and the provenance of the documents became an issue critical to CBS News, Mapes pressed Burkett on the source of the documents. At this point Burkett served up his laughable cock-and-bull story involving “Lucy Ramirez.” In her memoir Mapes says of the “Lucy Ramirez” story: “I believed it was quite possible that Bill Burkett was finally telling the truth, the whole weird truth, and nothing but the truth.” By contrast, the movie portrays Mapes as rolling her eyes and mouthing “bullshit” as Burkett tells his final story. Even the producers of Truth know that only a fool would buy what Burkett was peddling then. Only a knave would peddle it now.

• The film is all about rewriting history. Thus the celebration of the film by the New York Times at the TimesTalks event hosted gingerly by Susan Dominus this past October, just before the movie went into commercial release. The left is unrelenting in its support of the myths that sustain its political religion. Truth runs 121 minutes, but it’s an Orwellian Two Minutes Hate for the ignorant, the gullible, and the true believers.

• Andrew Heyward was president of CBS News at the time of Rathergate. He hasn’t spoken much about the scandal for public consumption, but he talked about Truth to the New York Times for its story on the TimesTalks celebration of the film. Heyward commented to Timesreporter John Koblin that the film “takes people responsible for the worst embarrassment in the history of CBS News, and what was at the time a grievous blow to the credibility of a proud news organization, and turns them into martyrs and heroes. Only Hollywood could come up with that.” That’s one truth missing from Truth.

The end of the internet as we know it

The Commerce Department is finalizing the transition of control of the internet from US hands to a “multi-stakeholder” model that includes Russia and China.

None of this was approved by Congress. The administration is acting unilaterally to strip US control of the internet and give it to totalitarians and religious fanatics.

Washington Examiner:


The move means the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is responsible for interpreting numerical addresses on the Web to a readable language, will move from U.S. control to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a multistakeholder body based in Los Angeles that includes countries such as China and Russia.

Critics of the move, most prominently Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, have pointed out the agency could be used by totalitarian governments to shut down the Web around the globe, either in whole or in part.


“The proposal will significantly increase the power of foreign governments over the Internet, expand ICANN’s historical core mission by creating a gateway to content regulation, and embolden [its] leadership to act without any real accountability,” Cruz wrote in a letter sent to Commerce and signed by two fellow Republicans, Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

In the event any facilities are relocated to China, senators noted, they could go in the same building as the agency responsible for censoring that country’s Internet. “We have uncovered that ICANN’s Beijing office is actually located within the same building as the Cyberspace Administration of China, which is the central agency within the Chinese government’s censorship regime,” they wrote, noting that some of the American companies involved with the transition process have already “shown a willingness to acquiesce” to Chinese demands to aid with censorship.

“While this is certainly not illegal, it does raise significant concerns as to the increased influence that governments … as well as the culture of cronyism,” they added.

Opponents similarly made the case that Congress has passed legislation to prohibit the federal government from using tax dollars to allow the transition, and pointed out that the feds are constitutionally prohibited from transferring federal property without approval from Congress. A coalition of 25 advocacy groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Heritage Action sent a letter to Congress making those points last week. A fourth, Americans for Limited Government, joined that letter and issued a separate statement calling for Congress to sue in the event the transfer moves forward.

Has there ever been a nation that voluntarily gave up a powerful tool that drives commerce and allows for the freest flow of information in the history of civilization? Probably not because such a tool never existed before this. But some ideologies can’t stand freedom. Russia, China, the Arab world, and others have tried for decades to wrest control of the internet from the US. Finally, they found their naive pidgeon in Barack Obama.

This is a radical change. I suspect we will see almost immediately that it was a mistake. But once the transfer is made, it will be too late to get it back, leaving us pretty much at the mercy of anti-freedom governments.

The Taxation of Olympic Medals

Uncle Sam goes for gold, too: Up to $9,900 per Olympic gold medal

Athena Cao
If US athletes win gold, Uncle Sam may hit them with a $10k tax bill  1 Hour Ago|00:42

Michael Phelps swims fast, but not fast enough to beat Uncle Sam, who awaits him at the finish line each time he wins a medal. His total income tax bill for the 2016 Games? Up to about $55,000 for his five golds and one silver.

Olympic athletes who bring home medals also bring home cash — $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze — paid for by the United States Olympic Committee. Like any prize winner, from a jackpot hitter to a Nobel Prize recipient, the athletes are taxed because Olympic medals and cash bonuses are considered income, said Steven Gill, associate professor of accounting at San Diego State University.

The maximum possible “victory tax” on the bonus for each gold medal, using the top tax rate of 39.6% for the nation’s highest earners, is $9,900, according to Americans for Tax Reform. For silver, it’s $5,940, and for bronze it’s $3,960. Athletes in lower tax brackets would owe less — and keep in mind that some or all of their massive training expenses would likely be deductible, whether they treat their sport as a business or a hobby.

Why Trump Should Worry About TRUMP®

Donald Trump has built an empire around his name. This is his trademark and it serves him well. I think his running for President was part patriotism, as he clearly is worried about having Hillary Clinton in the oval office, but part was brand development.

He has made his brand “huge,” as he would say, but he may destroy it.

A brand’s strength is based on its reputation and visibility. Trump® has enjoyed a very good reputation for decades. The words powerful, smart, elegant, fabulous, best, cool and etc. are associated with Trump® buildings, products, and concepts. That means people are eager to live in Trump® towers, play golf or vacation at Trump® golf courses or resorts, buy Trump branded clothes and other products, and even pay to attend Trump® programs and events.  In short, due to the appeal of the Trump ® brand, Trump the man and presidential candidate is fabulously wealthy and enjoys a perfect life, at least until he was the official Republican presidential candidate. Up to that point, he was even leading in the polls.

Trump the candidate is now in danger of destroying Trump® the brand. Since his stupid, outrageous, stumbling, buffoonish comments about a fellow named Kahn, and other missteps and oafish statements. He has fallen behind the highly flawed, untalented, constantly lying Democrat, Hillary Clinton.

The words now associated with Trump® are the same now associated with Trump the candidate. They are racist, stupid, buffoon, redneck, clumsy, ogre, oaf, out of touch, mean and it goes on. Now, soon no one will want to wear a Trump® golf shirt or live in Trump® towers, attend a Trump® seminar and etc.?

Trump the candidate has one option. Only one. He can start now to be presidential, smart, diplomatic, empathetic, kind, charming, humorous, and articulate. He must, in brief, act like a person who capable of being president. His opponent doesn’t, but may win by default if he continues to destroy Trump®.

What he needs to do at this point is called re-branding. Where this can be a very involved process for companies, it is easy here. Trump the candidate simply has to show discipline in the words that he speaks. He must speak of the economy that is terrible, of Hillary’s lying which is documented by the FBI, of her horrible time as Secretary of State where he has volumes of evidence, including dead bodies, and, I think he takes the high road,  and apologizes to that fellow Khan and expresses condolence over the loss of a son in combat. That will make him seem humble and human and he needs that, more importantly, Trump® needs that.

If Trump the man doesn’t win the election, Trump® is irretrievably damaged. Don, Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany, and Barron must insist on this and he must do it for himself and for America. He really has no choice.

Postscript: If a reader has access to Trump the candidate, please send this article to him.









Obama’s Trump Problem

Obama has a Trump problem and it is that he claims that Trump is unprepared for the Presidency. Of course, the problem is that Obama is the most woefully unprepared President ever.

Obama claims that Trump doesn’t know “basic stuff.” This is from the man who said he “visited all 57 states” during his first campaign and thought Austrians spoke Austrian, stuff that 6th graders know.

Obama is still the most hopelessly naive President ever. He just gets nothing right. His economy is the worst in fifty years, his foreign policy is in disarray. He relies on a complicit media to support his activities.

So, Obama’s Trump problem is that he sees someone he thinks is as unprepared as he was. The fact is that Trump is much more prepared that Obama ever was. He is a man of accomplishment whereas Obama was a community organizer, an Alinsky position, an undistinguished Illinois legislator who voted present because he didn’t have knowledge of issues that would allow him to vote “yea” or “nay,” an undistinguished US Senator from Illinois, need I say more. He was elected for reasons we all understand.

Obama’s Trump issue is that he sees himself in Trump and is really afraid that Trump will win and prove to be a superior President.


The Coming Election Fraud

Now that Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democrats’ candidate for President of the United States, prepare for the most fraudulent, corrupt and dishonest if not outright criminal election process in the history of this country. That has to be the takeaway from all the recent revelations regarding the Clintons and the DNC coronation of Clinton. Significantly aiding this criminality are Obama and the Democratic Party itself.

Obama has co-opted every federal agency tasked with providing honest oversight of the election process.  From the Federal Election Commission to the FBI and ultimately the Justice Department itself, the Clintons and the Democrats  know that there will be no negative consequences to any and all law breaking that they undertake to steal the election.  Voter intimidation by gangs of Clinton thugs will be given the response that the situation will be “investigated.”  In modern day Government usage “investigation” is simply a euphemism for “we intend to do nothing.”

Release of e-mails proving the corruption and collusion of the Democratic National Committee with the Clinton campaign are simply ignored by the Media and the watch dog agencies of the Government.  No matter how many more e-mails are released from the DNC or how criminally evidentiary they may be the Clintons know that nothing will dampen the enthusiasm of their lemming like supporters nor in any way endanger their movement to dominance.

There is much talk about the very real probability that the Russians or other foreign entities have possession of the 33,000 missing Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.  The talk centers around whether these emails will be released before the election to damage her or if she is elected President to be used as blackmail.  Although Putin and the Russians are extremely adept at manipulating information for their benefit I believe they have totally underestimated the Clintons.

In either case Hillary Clinton will not be influenced by the threat of any type of exposure or blackmail because she has demonstrated that she does not care what information comes out.  From the Rose Law Firm billings to the Benghazi situation and everything in between, including her husband’s impeachment and loss of law license for perjury, she will simply deny it and tell people to “move on.”  And as recent history has shown, many will eagerly move on, actively supporting her.

The only things that drive the Clintons are greed and the lust for power.  There are no religious, ethical or moral constraints on their actions.  If there is enough money dangled in front of her she will be more than willing to sell out the Country, blackmail be damned.  An elected Democrat, be he Congressman or Senator, would never in a million years vote for impeachment of President Clinton and absent such an action there is no other way to remove her from office.  She would pack the Supreme Court with ultra-liberal judges acting as a rubber stamp for whatever unlawful or unconstitutional efforts she might embark upon.

It is now up to the Republican governors, especially, to plan for the onslaught of illegal election activities in their States. It is a foregone conclusion that the Democrat governors will turn a blind eye if not wholeheartedly support such activities in order to secure the election of Clinton — while at the same time giving lip service to the purity of the process.  The tidal wave of Democrat lawyers which will descend on Red States prior to the election in attempts to stymie valid election processes and results will make all previous actions pale in comparison.

The Republican Party needs to mobilize, now, the assets needed to counteract these people.  State and local law enforcement agents need to be trained in how to specifically deal with the thugs that will be unleashed to effect voter intimidation.   These hooligans will be trained to promote confrontation with Law Enforcement in such a way as to milk the most propaganda from these events.  Be assured that the Mainstream Media will put the most negative spin on efforts to control the intimidation.  Be prepared for an onslaught of charges of voter dis-enfranchisement. Plan, plan, plan, now for the inevitable no holds barred attacks on truth and freedom.