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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Robert Redford to play Dan Rather in movie about George W. Bush scandal

Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett have signed on to play Dan Rather and his former producer, Mary Mapes, in a dramatization of “Rathergate,” the scandal that ended the newscaster’s storied career in 2004. James Vanderbilt, best known as the screenwriter of Zodiac and the Amazing Spider-Man series, will make his directorial debut. 

For those of you who have willfully blotted out the years 2001-2008, Rathergate was a scandal in which the CBS Evening News anchor and his producer uncovered documents proving a long-running allegation: that while the Vietnam War raged, then-ambassador George H.W. Bush pulled strings to get his son into the Texas Air National Guard ahead of other candidates, so he could avoid any risk of combat. 

Conservatives cried foul, alleging the documents were forgeries, and a CBS internal investigation prompted the network to fire Mapes, who insisted the documents were legitimate, and led to Rather’s resignation. The question of whether Bush had received preferential treatment—and the subsequent, still-unanswered question as to whether Bush deserted from his cushy transfer to Alabama’s Air Reserve to work on the Senate campaign of family friend Winton M. Blount—remain unanswered to this day. Through a baffling series of events, the media quickly moved to question whether Bush’s presidential rival John Kerry, a decorated combat veteran who still carries shrapnel in his leg, was in fact the one who hadn’t fully served his country. And Bush, of course, rode the issue all the way to a second term.

Vanderbilt has tackled presidential politics before, in the screenplays for White House Down and ID Forever Part II, so there’s an outside chance the story’s going to end with Rather and Kerry teaming up to storm the White House, kidnapping Bush or maybe protecting him from aliens.


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