Truth tells the riveting story behind Mary Mapes investigation into George W. Bush’s service for the Texas National Guard. It was an investigation that would end in a controversy that would rock the nation, as well as depriving Mapes of both her job and her reputation. However, while the story that Truth tells might have been the defining one of her career, it was by no means the only one. Here are 10 facts about Mapes’ career that you might now know.
She started out as an assistant to the camera crew
After Mapes graduated from college she started out looking for work in Seattle. Her first job in journalism was as the assistant to the camera crews for the channel KIRO-TV. Mapes’ whole career sprang from that job – before long she was editing, writing and even producing.
She covered a breathtaking range of stories
In her time as a reporter Mapes was everything from a war correspondent to a political correspondent. She’s covered everything from the death penalty to natural disasters, winning plenty of awards along the way.
She had a reputation for getting the interviews others couldn't
Mapes quickly built herself a reputation as a reporter who could break big stories quickly, and often this meant interviewing people other reporters could only dream of.
Mapes loved fighting for the underdog
Whether she was reporting about politics, war or the criminal justice system, there has always been one thread that has followed through Mapes’ entire career. She saw her job as being to fight for those who couldn't fight for themselves.
She has been to jail for her job
As you might expect, Mapes has always been one to stand by her beliefs, and has been willing to go to jail to protect her professional integrity. In 1999, she briefly went to jail because she refused to name her sources or hand over her notes to a Texas prosecutor.
The story she covered in Truth wasn't the only one that year!
While her investigation into George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard turned out to be a career defining one, it wasn't the only story she broke in 2004. That same year she broke the news that deceased politician Strom Thurmond had a previously unacknowledged daughter, Essie-Mae Washington-Williams.
She won a Peabody Award the year she left CBS
The same year that Mary Mapes was embroiled in a huge controversy that would see an end to her career as a broadcast journalist, she also broke the story that won her one of the most prestigious awards in journalism.
When Mapes’ work as a broadcast journalist ended, her career didn't
After the events portrayed in Truth, Mary Mapes found her position at CBS terminated. This would mark the end of her career as a broadcast journalist, but that doesn't been she isn't busy. Today she works as a consultant and writer, and has written a memoir of her experiences, Truth and Duty: the Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, which Truth is based on.
Mapes and James Vanderbilt have talked about their favourite films
Vandebilt travelled down to visit Mapes in Texas and talk the film over, but the conversation had little to do with her coverage of the National Guard story or what happened afterwards.
“We talked about our favourite movies, we talked about her history, my history, everything but the incident,” Vanderbilt says.
Mapes’ colleagues were amazed by Blanchett’s Performance
Of course, to bring the story life on screen it was important to find an actress who could tell Mapes’ story, and who you could believe did all the amazing things that Mapes has done. Cate Blanchett was a natural choice for the role.
“I hope I've found a small window in the freight train of the story to try to bring the real-life Mary’s vivacity into the piece,” Blanchett says of the role.
Those who worked with Mapes at the time, including her news anchor Dan Rather, were convinced.
“I was floored at how closely Cate resembled Mary, not just her hair and clothes but her mannerisms, her walk, her vocal delivery,” Rather said.