Nel 2005 Dan Rather, celebre anchorman del network televisivo americano CBS, rassegnò le sue dimissioni in seguito alla controversia esplosa dopo la messa in onda di un servizio che metteva in discussione l'appartenenza dell'allora presidente George W. Bush alla Guardia Nazionale Aerea durante la guerra nel Vietnam (o meglio di una sua accettazione nei suoi ranghi senza uno specifico addestramento e senza effettive ore di volo, con una partecipazione spregidicata, poichè spesso alle esercitazioni risultò essere presente senza di fatto esserci).
Responsabile d quell'inchiesta fu Mary Mapes, una agguerrita e seria produttrice televisiva che, per il programma giornalistico "60 Minutes", aveva realizzato molti storici scoop con grande intuito giornalistico.
Mapes ha poi raccontato e pubblicato (2005) la storia di quella controversia in un memoriale (Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power) che è la base su cui James Vanderbilt, sceneggiatore dei primi due capitoli della saga di The Amazing Spiderman qui alla sua prima regia, ha strutturato il copione di Truth - Il prezzo della verità, solido e coinvolgente dramma nella tradizione americana del cinema hollywoodiano che esplora i rapporti tra politica e giornalismo e la sfida - non sempre vincente - tra libertà di informazione e solida mission nella ricerca della verità da un lato e omertà del Potere, dall'altro.
L'inchesta venne poi affossata, utilizzando dei cavilli sulla legittimità delle fonti utilizzate e tutto finì davanti ad una commissione d'inchiesta che mise in discussione la moralità e la correttezza di Mary Mapes, responsabile di non avere aderito al codice deontologico, divulgando notizie non certe che mettevano in forse l'integrità del Presidente degli Stati Uniti. in carica.
Quello del film è un finale amaro nel quale, tuttavia, viene fatta salva la dignità delle persone coinvolte, mentre venne comunque inferto un colpo alla credibilità di George Bush Jr.
Presentato all'ultima Festa del Cinema di Roma e interpretato magnificamente da Cate Blanchett (Mary Mapes) e Robert Redford (Dan Rather), Truth - Il prezzo della verità - di cui si vede sotto il trailer ufficiale è stato in programmazione nelle sale italiane dal 17 marzo.
The Killian's documents controversy (anche conosciuta come Memogate o Rathergate). Mary Mapes produced a segment for 60 Minutes Wednesday that aired criticism of President George W. Bush's military service, supported by documents purportedly from the files of Bush's commanding officer, the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B Killian. Those documents had been delivered to CBS from Bill Burkett, who was a retired Lt. Colonel with the Texas Army National Guard. During the segment, Dan Rather asserted that the documents had been authenticated by document experts, but ultimately, CBS could neither confirm nor definitively refute their authenticity. Moreover, CBS did not have any original documents, only faxed copies, as Burkett claimed to have burned the originals.
The 60 Minutes report charged that Bush, the son of an ambassador, congressman and future president, had received preferential treatment in passing over hundreds of applicants to enlist in the Texas Air National Guard in order to avoid being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam after he had graduated from Yale in 1968. Then-Texas Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes said he had made phone calls to get Bush into the Guard, as he claimed to have done for the children of several other influential Texans.
After the report was aired, it was immediately the subject of harsh criticism, especially when a key document was reportedly proven to be a forgery. As a result of the controversy over the use of the documents, CBS ordered an independent internal investigation. The panel in charge of investigation was composed of Dick Thornburgh, former governor of Pennsylvania and United States Attorney General, and Louis Boccardi, retired president and CEO of the Associated Press. The Thornburgh-Boccardi report said that some of Bush's former instructors or colleagues had told Mapes that Bush told them he wanted to go to Vietnam, but that he could not go because there were others ahead of him with more seniority. Mapes was criticized for failing to air them in the 60 Minutes report to balance the allegation that Bush had enlisted in the Guard to avoid serving in Vietnam. Mapes was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put her source, Bill Burkett, in touch with him. However, Mapes stated that Burkett had asked her to give his phone number to someone in the Kerry camp to discuss the Swift Boat campaign, for which she had asked permission. She has said, in retrospect, she would not have done it. Lockhart and Burkett also stated that the conversation had nothing to do with CBS's report or the documents, but to do with the Swift Boat campaign.
Following the investigation, Mapes and others involved were accused of lapses in judgement and were fired. Although the panel did not determine the memos were fraudulent, it stated "there remains substantial questions" regarding their authenticity. According to the panel, a "myopic zeal" to be the first news outlet to broadcast an unprecedented story about the president's National Guard service was a "...key factor in explaining why CBS News had produced a story that was neither fair nor accurate and did not meet the organization's internal standards". The panel proclaimed that at least four factors contributed to the decision to broadcast the report: "The combination of a new 60 Minutes Wednesday management team, great deference given to a highly respected producer and the network's news anchor, competitive pressures, and a zealous belief in the truth of the segment".
The panel also stated that it "...cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content". Mapes was terminated by CBS in January 2005. Also asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy.