CBS can’t handle the Truth — the new movie about former CBS anchorman Dan Rather, that is.
The network has confirmed in a statement first published on Fox News’ website that it will not air commercials promoting the drama, which opened in limited release on Friday.
“It’s astounding how little truth there is in Truth,” the statement reads. “There are, in fact, too many distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all. The film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom. That’s a disservice not just to the public but to journalists across the world who go out every day and do everything within their power, sometimes at great risk to themselves, to get the story right.”
The film is based on producer Mary Mapes’ 2005 book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, and focuses on Mapes (Cate Blachett) and Rather (Robert Redford) as they defend themselves against charges that a 2004 segment on 60 Minutes II, casting doubt upon then President George W. Bush’s air national guard service, was buttressed by fabricated documents. Mapes and Rather both lost their jobs over the piece and the film characterizes their terminations as an journalistic injustice.
Through an outside advertising agency, Truth‘s distributor Sony Pictures Classics attempted to buy commercial spots on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, and 60 Minutes, and was turned down for all of the programs. Sony Pictures Classics did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but one of the movie’s producers told Fox News, “I don’t think the movie really draws a conclusion about these things. I don’t think it’s our job as filmmakers to draw a conclusion, but rather to pose the questions.”
EW critic Chris Nashawaty, in his negative review of the film, said, “For a movie about the importance of objectivity, Truth feels like a biased and sanctimonious op-ed column.”