T R U T H
by
James Vanderbilt
Based on the Book "Truth and Duty"
by Mary Mapes
BLACK SCREEN.
Over this, our title:
Truth
INT. WINSTON AND STRAWN -- LAW FIRM LOBBY -- DAY
A cavernous lobby in a high powered law firm. Marble and glass everywhere. An echo chamber.
SUPERIMPOSE - Washington D.C. - October 2004
NEWCASTER (O.S.)
...with 21 days to the election, Time Magazine has President Bush and Senator Kerry each with 48%, a statistical dead heat...
MARY MAPES sits. Career woman. Spitfire. Can drink and swear with the boys. Owns multiple curling irons. She sits alone. Waiting. KNITTING. Exhausted. Her eyes flit around as the needles loop and stitch the yarn.
RECEPTIONIST
Mr. Hibey will see you now.
INT. DICK HIBEY'S OFFICE -- DAY
Richly appointed. A scotch and cigar feel. Attorney DICK HIBEY (50's, bearded) rises as Mary enters.
HIBEY
Ms. Mapes. I'm Dick Hibey. What can I do for you?
MARY
Oh, I think you know.
Hibey smiles, gestures for her to sit. Noticing:
HIBEY
You knit?
MARY
You don't expect a woman like me to knit.
HIBEY
No. But it's good. Helpful.
2.
MARY
You mean it blunts my radical feminist agenda?
HIBEY
Do you have a radical feminist agenda?
MARY
You meet a lot of radical knitters?
Hibey smiles politely at the joke. Then:
HIBEY
Do you have a substance abuse problem?
MARY
I'm working on developing one.
HIBEY
I'm serious.
MARY
So am I.
Hibey's not smiling anymore.
HIBEY
You came to me, Ms. Mapes. If you're not up for this-
MARY
I've been in news for twenty years. I've won two Emmys, I broke Abu Ghraib, I've done jail time for not revealing sources. I have neither a radical feminist agenda nor a substance abuse problem, although right now I'm gonna take a xanax because this is really freaking me out - do you have any water?
A beat. Hibey rises and pours Mary a glass of water from a pitcher on the side table. Handing it to her.
HIBEY
You're going to have to be ready for questions like that.
MARY
I'm up for this.
3.
Hibey retakes his seat. Sizing her up.
HIBEY
There's an interesting reoccurring theme in the stories you cover. People abusing their power.
MARY
I don't like bullies.
HIBEY
Tell me about your work.
She looks at him.
MARY
You want to know if I'm responsible for what happened.
HIBEY
Aren't you?
MARY
I did my job, believe me.
HIBEY
I don't have to believe you. What matters is that they believe you. Now tell me about your work.
Mary takes a deep breath.
MARY
I'm the producer. I find the story, I put the team together, I write and cut the piece. I work at 60 Minutes.
HIBEY
And what's that like?
And as Mary smiles at the thought, we CUT TO --
INT. CBS NEWS -- EDITING -- EVENING
Cramped and dark. A large screen shows a photograph of NAKED PRISONERS from ABU GHRAIB.
An EDITOR manipulates a computer program, and one man's crotch
is blurred out with a field of squares...
4.
New York City - April 2004 - Six Months Earlier
COLONEL CHARLES (O.S.) They're really gonna run it this time?
Mary sits behind the tech along with COLONEL ROGER CHARLES (former military 50's crewcut) and a pregnant DANA ROBERSON.
MARY
They're going to run it.
COLONEL CHARLES
Because you said that last week-
MARY
They're going to run it, Roger.
TECHNICIAN
You want me to paint them out like this?
Mary looks up to the screen to see what the tech is doing - digitally painting out men's penises image by image. One man's crotch blurred out with a field of squares.
MARY
Jesus, no, it looks like his genitals were attacked by mad cubists. Maybe you could just darken the area?
The Technician hits a few keys. A beat.
MARY (CONT'D)
Okay, now it just looks like there's a black hole there.
DANA ROBERSON
From which no light can escape.
COLONEL CHARLES They're really going to run it? Because Sy Hersh has this and he's going to write a story about how we've sat on it for three weeks-
MARY
Dana, tell Roger they're going to run it, then hit him with a large blunt object for me, will you?
(MORE)
5.
MARY (CONT'D) (checking her watch)
I gotta go grab him, can you finish this?
The Colonel nods. Mary rises as we CUT TO --
INT. LINCOLN CENTER -- NIGHT
THE MAN IN PROFILE. Seated in a chair on the wings of a stage. Silhouetted by a spotlight. From ONSTAGE:
ANDREW HEYWARD (O.S.) He is, among other things, a piss
poor speller. That's why the Houston Chronicle put him on the radio instead of a desk. Three years later, he
was their news director.
Chuckles from the crowd. Our man withdraws a NOTEPAD from his pocket. Jotting something down. His speech maybe?
On stage Andrew Heyward - President of CBS News (50's, mustached) addresses the crowd; a sea of tuxedos and gowns.
ANDREW HEYWARD (CONT'D) To call his beginnings humble would be generous. A graduate of that most notable of journalism schools, The Sam Houston State Teacher's College, in 1959 he took his first job in the burgeoning medium of television. A year later, when a hurricane hit Galveston, he convinced his cameraman to shoot the radar screen, showing Americans for the first time how a storm worked. He was the first journalist to report that John F. Kennedy had been shot. He described the Zapruder film in detail to a nation that was not allowed to see it. He became the White House Correspondent at 33 years of age and the Chief London
Correspondent a year later. He helped bring the horrors of the Vietnam War into American living rooms for the first time.
(MORE)
6.
ANDREW HEYWARD (CONT'D) At a Broadcaster Convention in 1974 where President Nixon was scheduled to appear but not take questions, he, of course, asked a question. Nixon, upset, asked "Are you running for something?" My friend politely replied "No, sir, Mr. President. Are you?"
Laughter. Mary slips into the back of the room.
ANDREW HEYWARD (CONT'D) He covered the Russians in Afghanistan and the hostages in Iran. And in 1981 he became anchor of the CBS Evening News. He has now anchored a nightly newscast for longer than anyone else in U.S. history. He has dined with kings, angered Presidents, questioned dictators. Not bad for the son of a ditch-digger from Wharton, Texas.
In the wings, the Man flips his notepad shut and gets ready...
ANDREW HEYWARD (CONT'D) Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my friend, and the reason I have this job, Dan Rather.
The Crowd rises in applause as DAN RATHER steps from the wings. Mary smiles. Dan takes the lectern and pulls a pre- written speech from his jacket. What was the notepad?
DAN
Thank you, Andrew, for that wonderful introduction. And yes, I will honor your speaking fee.
Off the crowd's laugh we CUT TO --
INT. LINCOLN CENTER LOBBY -- NIGHT
After the ceremony. Dan and Andrew stand with a DRUNK RICH COUPLE during cocktail hour. Dan is in hell. Mary approaches, looking completely out of place in street clothes.
MARY
Hey, Andrew. I need him.
7.
ANDREW HEYWARD
You're not taking him-
MARY
You say that, and yet here I am.
DAN (to Mary)
You've got him?
MARY
Stashed in a hotel two blocks up.
They move for the door. Heyward panics, following them:
ANDREW HEYWARD
Dan, you're not leaving your own party! I got fifty affiliates and their wives waiting to meet you-- Goddammit, Mary!
EXT. LINCOLN CENTER -- NIGHT
Mary and Dan exit the gala. Among the fountains, Dan pulls off his bow-tie like a kid after Sunday School, barely containing his glee. Pretending to be upset.
DAN
I was receiving an award, you know.
MARY
You don't say.
DAN
For a "Lifetime of Achievement".
MARY
So it's pretty much all downhill from here, then?
DAN
Brother, you ain't kidding. (pause; then)
We are going to run it, right?
MARY
I'm going to start hurting you people soon, I swear to God-
8.
DAN
I'm just saying, I've already done cut-ins for it. We kill it now, we look like fools.
MARY
Not that that's stopped us before. (crossing the street)
They're worried about the Superbowl-- Andrew thinks the FCC may fine Viacom per station.
DAN
So the CBS News division has to tread softly because of Janet Jackson's left breast?
MARY
We're about to go on national television and accuse the U.S. Military of committing atrocities while hip deep in two wars during an election year.
(pause)
But yes, mostly I think they're worried about the boob thing.
INT. HOTEL ROOM -- NIGHT
Set up for an INTERVIEW. A TV CREW waits with a GENERAL seated in a chair. Mary and Dan enter.
MARY
General? This is Dan Rather.
Dan sits opposite him, pulling the NOTEPAD from his pocket...
DAN
General, thank you for doing this.
Let's start from the beginning...
...And now we see it's FULL OF QUESTIONS for the interview.
INT. BROADCAST BOOTH -- EVENING
A SERIES OF QUICK SHOTS - Anonymous hands turning knobs, balancing color bars. Slotting video tapes into machines. We see a MACRO of tapeheads sliding the magnetic tape into place, spooling it through the machine...
9.
INT. 60 MINUTES OFFICES -- BULLPEN -- NIGHT
The clock on the wall reads 8:00. We hear the familiar 60 MINUTES STOPWATCH. Colonel Charles, Dana, and others sit watching
ON TV - THE 60 MINUTES BROADCAST
The image of an IRAQI MAN standing on a box WEARING A HOOD. Electrodes run to his body. OVER THIS:
DAN (V.O.) Americans did this to an Iraqi
prisoner. According to the US Army, the man was told to stand on a box with his head covered with wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.
CUT TO Dan, addressing the camera:
DAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) It was this picture and dozens of
others that prompted an investigation by the U.S. Army. Yesterday, we asked General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of Coalition Operations in Iraq, what went wrong.
INT. 60 MINUTES -- MARY'S OFFICE-- NIGHT
And finally to Mary, watching her story come out...
GENERAL KIMMITT Frankly, I think all of us are disappointed at the actions of the few. You know, every day we love our soldiers, but frankly, some days we're not always proud of our soldiers.
DAN (V.O.)
Abu Ghraib under Saddam Hussein was infamous. For decades, many who were taken here never came out...
INT. PIERRE HOTEL BAR -- NIGHT
Ice cubes crackle. A piano plays softly. TV over the bar:
10.
NEWCASTER (O.S.)
...CBS's bombshell allegations this evening that prisoner abuse occurred at the Abu Ghraib facility...
A few feet away, Mary, Colonel Charles, Dana and Dan sit a table celebrating. Happily drunk.
DANA ROBERSON
I remember when you used to say "Courage" at the end of every broadcast. You remember that?
(off Dan's nod) Why'd you stop?
MARY
They made fun of him.
DANA ROBERSON
No!
DAN (mock wounded)
They did. Me. Can you believe it?
COLONEL CHARLES Apparently they thought times back then weren't grave enough to warrant such a sign off.
MARY
Give us a "Courage", Dan.
DAN
I don't think-
MARY
Come on, just one. For me?
A beat. Dan leans forward. In his best newscaster baritone:
DAN
Courage.
The others break up laughing. Dan smiles. Raises a toast.
DAN (CONT'D)
To a hell of a story.
11.
MARY
Once they finally ran it. (raises her glass)
F.E.A.
Laughter as they clink and drink, as above the TV continues
to blare coverage of their story...
EXT. MARY'S HOUSE -- ESTABLISHING -- NIGHT
SUPERIMPOSE - Dallas, Texas. An inviting two story Craftsman with a big front porch.
ROBERT (O.S.)
We're sitting here with Mommy. Thank you for being here Mommy.
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT
Mary's son ROBERT (7) holds a portable video camera. Mary sits across from him as he conducts an interview with her.
MARY
Thank you for having me.
Robert nods, all business.
ROBERT
Mommy, you were away for a long time again. What were you doing?
MARY
I was in New York working on the news.
ROBERT
And what does that entail?
Mary raises an eyebrow at her son's vocabulary.
MARY
Asking questions. Questions help reporters get to the truth.
ROBERT
Interesting. Are there any questions you shouldn't ask?
MARY
No. Never. Why would you say that?
12.
ROBERT
My friend Louis's Dad says reporters ask too many questions.
MARY
I'd be curious to know what your friend Louis's Dad thinks we should do with our time instead.
ROBERT
Were you with the men with the cameras?
MARY
Yes.
ROBERT
Interesting. Can I have a new camera?
MARY
We'll have to talk to your father about it for Christmas.
ROBERT
I'm trying to get to the truth here,
Mommy. Answer the question.
Mary smiles.
MARY
This interview is over.
INT. MARY'S HOME OFFICE -- NIGHT
Cluttered with papers. A LARGE TELEVISION above her desk. CNN yammering about Abu Ghraib.
PANELIST
...can't deny that Abu Ghraib is an enormous black eye for the Bush Administration just as John Kerry is emerging as a real challenger in the Presidential Election...
Mary's husband MARK WROLSTAD appears in the doorway. Nods to the TV coverage.
WROLSTAD
Caused a bit of a ruckus, didn't you?
13.
MARY
(smiles) Who me?
She clicks on her email. One from Mike Smith.
I've been a bad boy. Have some tasty brisket for you. -Mike
WROLSTAD
You wanna go for a walk?
Mary stares at the screen.
MARY
I think I have to work...
CUT TO:
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- MORNING
A SERIES OF SHOTS - Furniture being unwrapped. Boxes being unpacked. An Oriental Rug being spread on the floor. A LINE OF EMMYS being placed one by one on a bookshelf.
As the last one is put down by JOSH HOWARD, (late 30's, mustache). Looks around the office. He's made it.
INT. 60 MINUTES OFFICES -- HALLWAYS -- MORNING
Josh strides down the hall with MARY MURPHY, (30's, brunette) his right hand.
JOSH
What's she like?
MURPHY
Good. Fast. She's Rather's gal. (pause)
Makes twice as much as either of us.
JOSH (O.S.)
Thanks for coming in, Mary...
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- DAY
Mary smiles as she enters Josh's office and shakes his hand.
MARY
Not at all, I'm excited to get going.
14.
SUPERIMPOSE - June 2004
Josh smiles back and nods to Murphy next to him.
JOSH
As are we. You know Mary Murphy.
MURPHY
Great to see you again. Abu Ghraib was phenomenal.
As they all take a seat.
JOSH
So no big preamble, we love you, we love what you've done here - let's talk about the new season. What are you thinking?
Mary flips open her notebook.
MARY
I got something maybe for the election. Houston businessman named Bill White claims he has documents that the Bin Laden family were investors in Arbusto.
JOSH
Bush's oil company?
MARY
Could just be lots of sound and fury, but Vanity Fair's into it too. That whole time period for Bush is funky.
JOSH
Funky how?
MARY
I did some work on it in 2000. You know Ben Barnes?
JOSH
No.
MARY Old Texas Pol.
(MORE)
15.
MARY (CONT'D)
Barnes says when he was Speaker of the Texas House in '68, Sid Adger, this big oilman, comes into his office and asks for help getting young George Bush into the National Guard as a pilot. Poppy Bush at this point is
a Congressman and Barnes figures he can use all the connections he can get, so he says he called General Rose, who runs the Texas Air National Guard, and gets Bush a slot.
JOSH
Barnes told you this?
MARY
Completely off the record, but he's been dining out on the story for years. Then I talk to Buck Staudt, who was Bush's squadron commander. He starts screaming at me about how Barnes is full of shit, because everybody knows that he's the one who pulled the strings to get Bush into the Guard, not Barnes.
Josh laughs.
MARY (CONT'D) Politics in Texas. It's the
intergalactic capital of shit happens. Anyway while Bush is in the Guard,
he meets a guy named James Bath and they become running buddies. After they get out, Bath, with no resume to speak of, becomes chief financial representative for the Bin Laden Family's interests in Texas. Bush starts up Arbusto and Bath writes him a $50,000 check.
JOSH
Which your guy White claims is Bin Laden money.
(off her nod)
Okay, run it down. But if we go with it, we have to go early; we can't October surprise them.
16.
MARY
If you're into this, I'd like to bring in some other people.
MURPHY
Who?
Mary reaches into her bag and hands them a list...
EXT. ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY -- DAY
COLONEL CHARLES stands in full dress uniform at the funeral of a VETERAN as a flag is laid over a coffin. OVER THIS:
MARY (O.S.)
Colonel Roger Charles, worked Abu Ghraib for us. Naval Academy grad. Two tours in Vietnam, then the Pentagon. When he's not working for us, he's trying to get better armor for combat troops in Iraq.
JOSH
Who else?
INT. S.M.U. CLASSROOM -- DAY
LUCY SCOTT lectures a class of journalism students...
MARY (O.S.)
Since Dana's on maternity leave, I'd like Lucy Scott to run point. She's a CBS veteran, journalism professor in Dallas.
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- DAY
MURPHY
What about this man... Mike Smith?
INT. CRESCENT COURT HOTEL -- DALLAS, TEXAS -- NIGHT
A posh COCKTAIL PARTY. A long haired shaggy guy stands by a huge potted plant, feeding rum-and-cokes to a clearly drunk actor. Pad and pen out. This is MIKE SMITH (20's).
MARY (O.S.)
Mikey cut his teeth working for Molly Ivins and was a researcher for us on
(MORE)
17.
MARY (O.S.) (CONT'D) this in 2000. Last I heard, he was working as a stringer for People.com, sneaking into cocktail parties to find out who's sleeping with who...
SMITH
When you say "sport-fucking", do you mean he's, like, putting it to her for fun, or that he's actively attempting to compete at it?
There is a TAP on his shoulder. A BURLY SECURITY GUARD.
BURLY SECURITY GUARD
Sir, we have to ask you to leave.
SMITH
Listen, I appreciate where you're coming from, you have your job to do, but I am protected by my First Amendment rights, so, you know, respectfully, go fuck yourself.
The Security Guard rolls his eyes and looks to his goons.
BURLY SECURITY GUARD
The hard way.
EXT. CRESCENT COURT HOTEL -- NIGHT
Onlookers scatters as the goons BODILY CARRY a SCREAMING Mike Smith out the front door of the hotel:
SMITH
A free press is all that stands between you roided out motherfuckers and anarchy! At-tic-a! At-tic-a!
As they toss him into a FOUNTAIN...
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- DAY
Back to the scene. Mary gives them a smile.
MARY
It's a crack team. Trust me.
18.
INT. CBS NEWS DALLAS -- LOBBY -- MORNING
A small two story building. Mary walks toward the staircase. Smith sits on the stairs. Rumpled clothes and hair.
SMITH
You really gonna do it this time? Your evil corporate overlords will let you?
MARY
Good to see you too, Mikey.
SMITH
I hear Heyward's talking about closing foreign bureaus, moving in more of a bullshit "infotainment" direction.
MARY
Where'd you hear that?
SMITH
I'm a researcher, I research.
MARY
They won't touch the news division as long as Dan's there.
SMITH
Dan's not gonna be there forever.
They'll figure a way to get the Old
Man out of the chair eventually-
MARY
You've never even met him.
SMITH
Doesn't mean his time hasn't come. Why did he get into journalism anyway if he's not gonna do tough stories?
Mary looks at him.
MARY
How you doing, Mikey?
SMITH
I'm eating ramen three meals a day and stealing cable, I need a job.
19.
MARY
Come meet everybody.
INT. CBS NEWS -- DALLAS BUREAU CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
A series of MILITARY FILES spread out across the table.
Lucy Scott and Roger Charles, working as Smith and Mary enter. The former Marine raises an eyebrow at the newcomer.
COLONEL CHARLES
Oh, good. You brought me a hippie.
MARY
This is Mike Smith, he worked this with me in 2000. He has no social graces whatsoever.
SMITH
It's true.
COLONEL CHARLES
Your Arbusto tip is for shit. Bin
Laden money never got near Bush.
SMITH
So what am I doing here?
MARY
We found something else. Bush's time in the Guard. There are some...
gaps.
COLONEL CHARLES
You are looking at George W. Bush's entire Texas Air National Guard file.
SMITH
You mean what's left of it, right? (realizing)
You're doing a paper trail.
The Colonel picks up a file.
COLONEL CHARLES
What we have starts here - May 1968, bloodiest month of the conflict. Bush is accepted to the Texas Air National Guard for flight training.
20.
MARY
If you believe Ben Barnes, he got
Bush onto the waiting list.
COLONEL CHARLES
If there even was a waiting list. Some people say yes, some people say no. That one General...
He snaps his fingers, trying to remember.
SMITH
Belisario Flores?
Colonel Charles looks at Smith - not bad.
COLONEL CHARLES Former head of the Texas Guard, he
said there was a waiting list, over a hundred people on it.
LUCY
So Bush jumped the list.
COLONEL CHARLES
We have no document showing any kind of waiting list.
SMITH
Bush says he got in so quickly because they were specifically looking for pilots, which is bullshit with so many pilots rotating back from Vietnam. And that's another thing - training a National Guard pilot from start to finish was a huge rarity.
LUCY
Why?
COLONEL CHARLES Because it's not cost effective.
Lot of National Guard jocks are former Air Force pilots who want to maintain their flight rating.
SMITH
Why spend a million bucks training a new pilot when you can just admit a
(MORE)
21.
SMITH (CONT'D)
guy the Air Force already taught how to fly? The only thing that makes Bush an attractive candidate for the Guard is who he's connected to.
COLONEL CHARLES
Either way, he's in. Signed on for a six year commitment. Does his pilot training at Moody and is then assigned to the 111th Fighter Intercept Squadron in Houston. Records show he does really well here, high marks in every rating period until the spring of 1972. Then nothing. No flights, no appearing for duty. Until August 1 when he is suspended in writing for missing a routine physical.
MARY
So how does someone go from being a top-notch pilot to not even taking your physical?
COLONEL CHARLES
Not only that, but he requests and is granted a reassignment to Alabama
to work on a friend's Senate campaign.
LUCY
Wait - he disobeys an order and then they let him transfer?
COLONEL CHARLES
It gets better. From May 1972 to May 1973, his record shows no points registered. Points are like hours on a time card in the Guard. It basically means he didn't show up. The Alabama commander has no recollection of him. No eyewitness has ever placed him on base and no paperwork exists to prove he was ever there.
Lucy looks from one of them to the other.
22.
LUCY
You're telling me the President of the United States may have gone AWOL from the military for over a year?
A beat.
COLONEL CHARLES
We have no proof of that.
LUCY
What does the White House say?
SMITH
That Bush served honorably and that military records go missing all the time.
COLONEL CHARLES
By the way, military records do notgo missing all the time. They're the military. They're good at shit.
(looking at file)
Bush is not heard from in the records again until July 1973 when he shows up for drills. And in September 1973 he requests and is granted an early discharge to attend Harvard Business School.
LUCY
He asks to quit nine months early and they let him?
SMITH
And he resigned his commission in '74 which is very weird. You're commissioned for life, right? Why resign it? It makes no sense.
Mary looks around the room.
MARY
So what are the questions we're looking to answer?
SMITH
One - did Bush go into the Guard to avoid going to Vietnam?
23.
LUCY
Not to be cynical, but who didn'ttry to get into the Guard to avoid Nam back then?
COLONEL CHARLES
Me.
The military man says it without blinking.
MARY
Bush's trainer in the 147th said he wanted to go to Vietnam.
COLONEL CHARLES (holds up a paper)
This is the only document in the official record that deals with it. On the question of desiring overseas transfer, Bush checked "No".
MARY
Bush's trainer says that must have been a mistake.
SMITH
Cause that's a question you get wrong...
MARY
Two - why did he skip the physical?
A beat.
SMITH
He didn't have a drug problem, he just liked the way it smelled.
Lucy laughs.
MARY
And Three - if someone did pull strings for him, who? And how the hell do we get them to go on the record?
INT. BEN BARNES GROUP OFFICES -- AUSTIN TEXAS -- NIGHT
Ben Barnes (60's), former Lieutenant Governor of Texas, clad in a suit. Pours a scotch on the wet bar next to his desk.
24.
NEWCASTER
...The latest Zogby poll which has Senator Kerry leading the President by seven points...
Barnes on speaker-phone, voice drawls as smooth as the liquor.
BEN BARNES
Is it that time of year again already? When I have to fend off the advances of a beautiful woman such as yourself?
INTERCUT:
MARY
You got the President into the National Guard, Governor. I find that very impressive.
BEN BARNES
It is impressive, isn't it?
MARY
Why don't you come on TV, tell us all about it?
BEN BARNES
We both know if I ever said that about Texas's favorite son on camera they'd run me outta Austin on a rail.
(looking at the TV)
Sorry, Mary. Johnny's gonna win this thing, anyway.
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- NIGHT
Mary ducks her head in where Mike and Lucy sit.
MARY
Barnes is still a no. Who's next?
Lucy walks up to a WHITE BOARD with a LIST OF NAMES on it.
Draws a line through Ben Barnes. Looking to the next one...
LUCY
Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush's CO in the 111th. If anyone is able to really tell us what went on, he will.
25.
MARY
Small problem there.
LUCY
Which is?
MARY
Killian's dead.
Lucy looks to Smith, who nods.
SMITH
It's a pickle.
MARY
Who's next?
Lucy lines out Jerry Killian and goes to the next...
LUCY
General Buck Staudt, former CO of
Bush's 147th Interceptor Squadron...
INT. BUCK STAUDT'S HOME -- DAY
General BUCK STAUDT spitting mad as he yells into the phone:
GENERAL STAUDT
George was one of the best fucking pilots I ever had! I resent all you goddamn reporters implying that something fishy was going on!
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
Lucy lines out Buck Staudt and moves onto the next.
LUCY
General Bobby Hodges, succeeded Staudt as Commander of the 147th, Killian's direct supervisor...
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- NIGHT
Mary, phone to her ear, hearing:
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) He was like all Second Lieutenants, bright eyed and bushy tailed. But no strings were pulled for him.
26.
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
Bobby Hodges lined out. Onto the next:
LUCY
Maurice Udell, Bush's flight instructor...
INT. UDELL'S LIVING ROOM -- DAY
MAURICE UDELL (into phone)
No strings were pulled for him. I thought he'd be a great American and a fighter pilot.
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
LUCY
Tom Honeycutt...
INT. HONEYCUTT'S KITCHEN -- DAY
TOM HONEYCUTT (into phone)
No strings were pulled.
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- LATE AFTERNOON
LUCY
Albert Lloyd...
EXT. LLOYD'S PORCH -- LATE AFTERNOON
ALBERT LLOYD (into phone)
No strings were pulled.
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- LATE AFTERNOON
LUCY
Bill Hollowell.
INT. HOLLOWELL'S CAR -- EVENING
BILL HOLLOWELL (into phone)
No strings were pulled. And even if they were, it's a non-issue.
(MORE)
27.
BILL HOLLOWELL (CONT'D) (honks at another car)
Move, you son of a bitch!
CUT TO:
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- NIGHT
SUPERIMPOSE - August 2004. Every last name on the board has a line through it. Mary sits, staring at the names. Trying to find a way in.
INT. DAN'S APARTMENT -- NEW YORK CITY -- NIGHT
Dan, getting dressed for a black tie event. Mary talks to him through his speaker-phone, INTERCUT:
MARY
It's like they were given talking points. He was a great guy and no strings were pulled.
DAN
Devil's advocate? What if no strings were pulled?
MARY
You know who else was in the 147th? Lloyd Bensten's son, John Connally's son, both Sid Adger's sons, H.L.
Hunt's grandson, and the heirs to the Sakowitz fortune. But I'm sure it's just a coincidence.
DAN
So what's our next move?
Mary shakes her head. Staring at the names.
MARY
I have no idea.
INT. MARY'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT
Late. Wrolstad snores lightly. On Mary. Can't sleep. The TV plays. A SWIFT BOAT AD. A montage of older VETERANS speaking to the camera, with a background of military images.
VETERAN 1
I served with John Kerry.
28.
VETERAN 2
I served with John Kerry.
VETERAN 3
John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.
VETERAN 4
He is lying about his record.
VETERAN 5
John Kerry has not been honest...
VETERAN 6
And he lacks the capacity to lead.
VETERAN 7
When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry.
VETERAN 8
John Kerry is no war hero-
The PHONE RINGS. Wrolstad stirs in the bed next to her.
WROLSTAD
Who's that?
MARY
My secret lover. Go back to sleep.
Wrolstad grunts and rolls over. Mary scoops up the receiver.
MARY (CONT'D)
Hello?
SMITH (O.S.)
You ever hear of Linda Starr? Runs a website, clearing house for anti- Bush stuff. She's hinting documents are going to be floated soon.
MARY
What kind of documents?
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- EARLY MORNING
Josh drinks coffee as an ASSISTANT pokes her head in.
29.
ASSISTANT
Mary Mapes is on the phone.
INT. MARY'S KITCHEN -- DAWN
Mary, bleary, handwritten notes in front of her, fixing a bowl of Cheerios for Robert across from her. INTERCUT:
MARY
I think we got something. Anti-Bush internet rabble-rouser. I talked to her for three hours, but she put me in touch with her source, a Colonel who says he may have access to missing documents from Bush's purged Guard file. I got Mike Smith talking to him right now.
Robert looks at his bowl.
ROBERT
Milk?
Mary retrieves a carton of milk from the fridge.
JOSH
Get a look at those documents. And do some background, make sure the Colonel isn't nuts.
INT. AUSTIN DINER -- DAY
Mary sits in a booth across from reporter JIM MOORE. Steaming cups of coffee in front of both of them.
JIM MOORE
Colonel Burkett is nuts.
MARY
Oh, good.
JIM MOORE
But he's also on the level.
MARY
You're sure?
JIM MOORE He's a whistle-blower.
(MORE)
30.
JIM MOORE (CONT'D)
And whistle-blowers are consistently unbalanced, angry grudge-holders. That's what makes them want to blow their whistles in the first place.
(leaning forward)
He claims he was there for the scrubbing.
MARY
The scrubbing?
JIM MOORE
Of Bush's Guard file. 1997, Burkett, George Conn, a couple other people say that a bunch of Bushies went down to the Guard Headquarters in Austin and made certain unfavorable parts of his file disappear. You've seen the official record right? Holes in it big enough to drive a truck through.
MARY
So you believe him.
JIM MOORE
Enough to devote a hundred and twenty pages in my new book to him.
He takes a sip of his coffee.
JIM MOORE (CONT'D) You're going to want to be careful
with this. The administration doesn't take kindly to this type of reporting.
MARY
I didn't exactly make friends with them on Abu Ghraib-
JIM MOORE
This is different. You're talking about screwing with the man himself.
MARY
The President.
31.
JIM MOORE
After I did my first book on Bush? My name mysteriously popped up on the terrorist no-fly list. Now, I can't hop a puddle jumper without a strip search. They don't forget.
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- FRONT HALL -- DAY
Mary coming home, hears SMITH'S VOICE coming from the kitchen:
SMITH (O.S.)
...Then you gotta know about the 1996 Telcom Act...
INT. MARY'S KITCHEN -- DAY
Smith sits across from Robert, who is interviewing him.
SMITH
See, the rules were no company could own more than one TV station, radio station, or newspaper in the same market - so no one could have a monopoly on the flow of information. But the '96 Act eliminated the cross ownership ban and now TV News is controlled by only five corporations - GE, Disney, Time Warner, NewsCorp, and Viacom - which owns CBS. And
all of these mega-corporations rely on what?
Robert just stares at him.
ROBERT
I'm seven.
SMITH
On corporate tax breaks and favorable government legislation! That means the government controls the financial well-being of the very institutions that are supposed to report on them! At best it's collusion. Can you still report the news? Sure. As long as it doesn't get in the way of the golden rule - thou shalt always protect the company.
32.
MARY
Ever think maybe you're just paranoid?
Smith turns to see her standing there.
SMITH
Once. But I dismissed it as paranoia. (rising)
We have a problem. Burkett's talking to other outlets. New York Times, Vanity Fair-
MARY
You gotta get him to meet with us and bring the documents.
SMITH
He does that, he loses all his bargaining power. He wants money.
MARY
We don't do that.
SMITH
He's worried he's going to have to relocate after this. He's worried this will put him in danger. Shit, he's worried his phone is tapped.
MARY
Aren't you?
SMITH
Mary, if these really are missing pieces of a sitting President's military record, we are talking about the Holy Grail of documents. If we won't pay, someone else will.
Silence. The clock ticks. Mary, slowly:
MARY
Tell Burkett we don't believe him.
SMITH
But we do believe him.
33.
MARY
Tell him if he wants to keep us on the hook, he's going to have to show us something to prove his story.
Smith stares at her.
MARY (CONT'D)
You get me in a room with those documents, and I will close him.
EXT. WHATABURGER -- DAY
Deep Texas. A burger chain. The sign blares WHATABURGER!
SUPERIMPOSE - September 2004. Mary and Smith pull to a halt in front of the bright orange restaurant. After a bit:
MARY
You figure they really have to have confidence in their burgers to name a restaurant that.
Smith nods. Then:
SMITH
How early are we?
A beat. They exchange a glance, thinking the same thing...
TIME CUT TO:
Mary and Smith, now EATING BURGERS. Smith, mouth full:
SMITH (CONT'D)
These are really good.
Mary nods. Scanning the people outside.
MARY
What do they look like?
SMITH
The Burketts? I don't know.
MARY
Then how do we recognize them?
34.
SMITH
I don't know, I thought you Googled them or something.
MARY
We've arranged a clandestine Whataburger rendezvous with a man who wants to bring down the President of the United States and we don't even know what he looks like?
A RAPPING on Mary's window and she turns to see a very TAN OLDER WOMAN standing there. Behind her is a taller gaunt older man. COLONEL BILL BURKETT. Looks around, suspicious.
BURKETT
Y'all stay in the car. In case someone listened to our calls, we're gonna go to a secondary location.
Mary gives Smith a look as Burkett heads back to his car...
INT. INDIAN SAM'S -- DAY
The foursome occupy a BOOTH. Colorful kids' placemats in front of them. A birthday party in the background. Nicki helps Burkett take sucks off an oxygen mask, as a WAITRESS delivers four huge sodas to the table. When she's gone--
BURKETT
I saw it with my own eyes. They put the parts of Bush's file they didn't like in a wastebasket.
MARY
And do you have these documents?
NICKI
Bill tried to talk about this in 2000 and someone ran us off the road one night.
BURKETT
I ain't scared of them-
NICKI
Well, I am. I am scared.
She takes a deep gulp of iced tea. Nerves shot.
35.
BURKETT
Let's say I have the documents. Why should we show 'em to you? Why not one of the newspapers-
MARY
Because nobody reads newspapers.
Burkett blinks.
BURKETT
One of the other networks then-
MARY
I don't know if you've noticed, but not many people actually do what we do anymore.
(pause)
We're 60 Minutes. We're the gold standard. And we can help you. Look, you come on camera and we'll-
NICKI
No. No cameras. Our name stays out of this.
(to Burkett)
They will destroy us for this. Don't you understand?
She looks at her husband, pleading. Mary stares at her.
MARY
Nicki, listen. I know what it's like to be bullied. To feel like they're too strong, that you're small and powerless. But you are not.
And doing this will show them that. (pause)
I promise. We will protect you.
A beat. Nicki and Burkett exchange a glance. Like a weight has shifted at the table. And then very slowly, Burkett pulls out a photocopied piece of paper. The top reads
111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
And the date
01 August 1972
36.
Mary's eyes flit over different words and phrases -
1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure
to perform to USAF/TexANG standards...
...No attempt to meet his training certification or flight
physical...
...Desire to transfer out of state including assignment to
non-flying billets...
Mary looks up at Burkett.
MARY (CONT'D)
This is signed by Jerry Killian.
Burkett hands them a second document.
BURKETT
This too. First one says Bush made no attempt to meet his training certification - that's a big difference than just missing his physical. Second one refers to his pilot position as "critical".
SMITH
Bush said he stopped flying because he was no longer needed as a pilot...
BURKETT
This document would prove that statement untrue.
MARY
Can you think of anyone who would want to fool you with these? Like a political dirty trick?
Burkett blinks. The thought never occurred to him.
BURKETT
I can't believe someone would hate me that much.
SMITH
Do you have the originals?
37.
BURKETT
No, I was only given copies. And don't ask me where, I'm not telling you anything else. You get some experts of your own to look at them.
Mary nods as Smith signals for the check.
MARY
We will.
INT. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN -- NIGHT
Decked out with POLITICAL TRAPPINGS. Various reporters, looking down at the speech occurring on the floor. On a NEWSCASTER doing a stand up:
NEWSCASTER
...Believe The Swift Boat ads coupled with a usual post-Convention bump could give the President as much as
a ten point lead over Senator Kerry...
SUPERIMPOSE - Republican National Convention
IN THE CBS BOOTH - Dan Rather holds a cell phone to his ear.
MARY (O.S.)
I said, we've got 'em!
INT. MARY'S CAR (MOVING) -- LATE AFTERNOON
Mary, driving, while scanning the documents. INTERCUT:
MARY
They contradict Bush's official story, the one he put in his autobiography, the one he ran on-
SMITH
Mary, could you not read, drive, andtalk on the phone at the same time?
MARY
I got Lucy pulling together document examiners, but we need to start getting people on camera. What's your schedule after the convention?
38.
DAN
Hurricane Frances is supposed to make landfall Friday-
MARY
No, no, no-
DAN
You know how I feel about hurricanes, Mary. They are incredible displays of nature's power-
MARY
They're wind. I am asking you as a friend, please do not go to this hurricane-
The car POPS A CURB.
SMITH
Mary!
Mary pulls over.
MARY
I'm going to start talking to Josh about timing.
DAN
Good. I knew you could do this,
Mary.
Mary smiles. He hangs up. Breaks the connection. Mary stows her cell phone and restarts the vehicle.
SMITH
Back there, what you said to Nicki
Burkett about being bullied?
MARY
What about it?
SMITH
That was good. It didn't sound like you just trying to close her. It sounded real.
MARY
Good.
39.
She puts the car in gear and drives...
INT. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN -- NIGHT
Dan stows his phone. On the convention floor GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI is wrapping up the keynote address.
GEORGE PATAKI
...He is one of those men God and fate somehow lead to the fore in times of challenge. And he is lighting the way to better times, a safer land, and hope.
(pause)
He is my friend, he is our President, President George W. Bush!
The crowd explodes in applause as PRESIDENT BUSH makes his way to the podium. High in the CBS Booth, Dan Rather watches.
EXT. MARY'S HOUSE -- DAY
Mary walks up her driveway, dodging Robert's toys, balancing a cup of Starbucks and her phone to her ear.
MARY (into phone)
Our premiere is September 29th but the story won't hold till then.
INT. 60 MINUTES OFFICES -- BULLPEN -- DAY
Josh, looks up at his SCHEDULE BOARD - the CBS schedule for the next two months. Mary Murphy with him. INTERCUT:
MURPHY
September 15th we don't have a show - CBS is running the Billy Graham crusade.
MARY
What about the 22nd?
JOSH
Preempted again. Dr. Phil special.
MARY
So our airdate is being decided by an unholy confluence of Billy Graham and Dr. Phil McGraw?
40.
JOSH
News doesn't pay the bills.
MURPHY
There is one more option. The 8th.
Mary takes a deep breath.
MARY
As in five days from now?
JOSH
If it can't be done-
MARY
I'd need interviews, I'd need to get my whole team to New York, I'd need-- First, I need Dan. Where is he?
CUT TO:
ON TELEVISION - Dan, screaming into a mic as he is POUNDED by WIND AND RAIN.
DAN
Hurricane Frances is pounding Florida harder than a strong man at a state fair trying to win a kewpie doll!
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- KITCHEN -- EVENING
Mary, watching as the wind almost blows him over.
MARY
I'm gonna kill him.
As ONSCREEN DAN is almost taken out by a flying tree branch...
SMITH You may not have to.
(checking his laptop)
I can maybe get him on a puddle jumper to Austin for the Strong interview. Got an email from the Colonel about the documents saying "I feel better".
She scans the email and grabs the phone...
41.
INT. DALLAS BUREAU -- NIGHT
The Colonel scoops up his ringing phone.
COLONEL CHARLES
Yeah?
INTERCUT:
MARY
A memorandum for record is a memo to nobody, right? So why does Killian file them?
COLONEL CHARLES Killian knows suspending a guy this
protected is a big deal. He's trying to do the right thing here, but wants a paper trail to insulate himself.
MARY
Which means W's protection must have come from higher up than Killian.
COLONEL CHARLES
You're thinking Hodges, aren't you?
MARY
He was Killian's direct supervisor...
I'll call you back.
Mary hangs up. Checks her notes for another number - Gen. Bobby Hodges. Dials. Rings. ANSWERING MACHINE:
GENERAL HODGES (V.O.)
You have reached Robert Hodges, please leave a message.
MARY
General Hodges, this is Mary Mapes from 60 Minutes; I was hoping you could give me a call back at your earliest convenience-
SMITH
You gotta see this!
He hands her his laptop. Onscreen, shaky CELL PHONE VIDEO.
42.
SMITH (CONT'D)
Cell phone video from a Democratic fund raiser.
A MAN is addressing a CROWD. Mary squints at the screen.
MARY
Is that Ben Barnes?
ON SCREEN
BEN BARNES
Let's talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush, and I know them both. And I'm not name dropping. See I... I got a young man named George Bush into the National Guard when I was the Lt. Governor of Texas. I'm not necessarily proud of that...
MARY
Holy shit.
INT. BEN BARNES' OFFICE -- NIGHT
Barnes, on the phone with Mary, clearly distressed:
BEN BARNES
I didn't know they were taping me!
Did you see it? I looked like shit!
MARY (smiling)
I thought you looked wonderful, Ben.
BEN BARNES
Oh, don't you start.
MARY
The cat's already out of the bag and your man Kerry is almost ten points down. We're airing our piece in four days. Are you in or not?
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- FRONT HALL -- NIGHT
Smith, pulling on his jacket. From the other room:
MARY (O.S.)
We got Barnes!
43.
SMITH
Burkett just called, he's got more memos he wants to hand off.
He moves for the door as Mary comes in.
MARY
We need to find out who his source is. I have to be at the airport in the morning-
SMITH
I'll fax you what I get!
And he's out the door.
INT. ROBERT'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT
Mary, dressed in travel clothes. Standing with Wrolstad in the door of Robert's room, looking at their sleeping son.
MARY
He's gotten so big.
WROLSTAD
(nods) It's a problem.
Mary goes and leans down next to Robert's bed and kisses him on the cheek. He stirs.
MARY
I gotta go, kiddo. Big story, gotta go ask questions.
ROBERT (yawning)
With the men with the cameras?
MARY
(smiles at the question)
Yes, with the men with the cameras.
He rolls over. She kisses him again and rises. Goes to the door where Wrolstad stands. He whispers to her:
WROLSTAD
You be careful, okay? This is honor and duty. This is where they live.
44.
She looks at him.
MARY
I'll be careful, Mark.
Wrolstad nods. Enough for him. She kisses him and starts for the stairs. Turns back, with a thought.
MARY (CONT'D)
Maybe you should let him watch this one.
Wrolstad nods. Okay. She kisses him once more and goes.
INT. DALLAS/FORT WORTH AIRPORT -- ARRIVALS -- DAY
September 5th - 3 Days To Air. An amazingly disheveled Dan Rather comes down the jetway. Mary holds up a folder.
MARY
More memos from Burkett.
INT. ARRIVALS -- DAY
Mary and Dan sit in a bank of chairs as travelers swirl around them. Dan, scanning the new memos. He stops, reading aloud:
DAN
"Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job. Harris gave me a message today from Group regarding Bush's OETR...
He looks at Mary, questioning.
MARY
Officer Effectiveness Training Report.
DAN
"Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate."
(pause)
Bush wasn't here during rating period...
45.
MARY
They're trying to get Killian to
file a rating for Bush while he wasn't even on base.
(pause)
This is proof that he was AWOL.
A long beat. Dan looks up at her.
DAN
Who am I talking to first?
INT. AUSTIN HOTEL ROOM -- DAY
Robert Strong - Former Texas
Air National Guard (60's)
sits in a chair. Dan across
from him. CAMERA ROLLING.
DAN
Is there any doubt in your mind that these memos are genuine?
STRONG
Well, they are compatible with the way business was done at that time. They are compatible with the man that I remember Jerry Killian being.
Off to the side, Mary, Lucy, and Smith stand watching.
DAN
What do you think Colonel Killian was trying to do with these memos?
STRONG
I think he was trying to get a duty performed and I think he was trying to protect himself because of the political environment in which he found himself.
DAN
Political considerations were a major force in the Guard?
STRONG
It verged on outright corruption the favors that were done, the power that was traded.
(MORE)
46.
STRONG (CONT'D)
From a moral and ethical standpoint, it was unconscionable.
TIME CUT TO:
After the interview. The cameraman is packing up as Dan bids farewell to Robert Strong. Mary looks to the others.
MARY
Let's go to New York...
INT. AMERICAN AIRLINES (FLYING) -- NIGHT
A night flight. Most people doze in the dark cabin. Smith reads. Someone takes a seat next to him.
He looks up to see it is Dan Rather.
DAN
I didn't get the chance to introduce myself before. Dan Rather.
SMITH (star-struck)
No shit. I mean, Mike Smith. I mean- yes. You are. I'm Mike. Smith. Hi.
DAN
Mary says you're the one who calls me "The Old Man"?
SMITH
I- wow. Really not happy she shared that with you.
Dan smiles.
DAN
I want to thank you for all your hard work on this. It's important. Questioning things. People say it doesn't matter, one side or the other will always say we're being partisan... but the day we stop asking questions is the day the American people lose. It may sound hokey, but I really believe that.
47.
ELSEWHERE ON THE PLANE - Lucy and Colonel Charles sit next to each other, going through documents.
LUCY
You know what's crazy?
COLONEL CHARLES (not looking up)
Many things are crazy. Tell me what specifically you feel is crazy.
LUCY
The fact they kept this secret for so long.
Colonel Charles looks over to Mary dozing a few seats away.
COLONEL CHARLES
You know why Mary didn't get this story done in 2000, don't you?
Lucy shakes her head.
COLONEL CHARLES (CONT'D) Her mother died. Right in the middle of it. So this story never got finished and the election happened. An election decided by 537 votes.
(pause)
Sometimes I think if Mary's mom hadn't died that summer, there's a good chance Al Gore would be President right now.
LUCY
What about her father?
COLONEL CHARLES
Mary's father is a drunken piece of shit who hated himself so much that he beat his daughters. The more outspoken they were, the harder he hit them. How do you think she fared?
Lucy looks at Mary's sleeping form.
LUCY
She'd get beat up for asking questions?
48.
COLONEL CHARLES
That's right.
LUCY
And this is what she does for a living.
Dan retakes his seat next to a sleeping Mary as the Colonel and Lucy watch.
COLONEL CHARLES
People are funny sometimes. That's part of what it is between her and Dan, I think. Why they work so well together. Why they need each other.
(shakes his head) Fathers and daughters.
Lucy doesn't know how to respond. Pan to Mary. The plane flies on through the night.
INT. CBS NEWS -- LOBBY -- MORNING
September 6th - 2 Days To Air. The lobby of 555 West 57th. Our team strides across it bleary eyed.
MARY
Tell me about the document examiners.
LUCY
There are four. We have Marcel Matley coming in from San Francisco today
to do on-camera. Linda James in Texas wants to see the originals-
MARY
So would I, but we don't have them.
LUCY
That's what I told her. Jim Pierce in Los Angeles just got started today and Emily Will in North Carolina wants you to call her...
As they step into the elevators
EMILY WILL (O.S.)
I think you have a problem.
49.
INT. MARY'S OFFICE/EMILY WILL'S OFFICE -- DAY
Mary sits at her desk unpacking her carry-on, on the phone with Emily Will - Document Examiner. INTERCUT:
EMILY WILL
I've been doing some internet research. The President was in Alabama when these were written, so there's no way they could be true.
MARY
Have you found anything wrong with the documents themselves?
EMILY WILL
No, but-
MARY
Do they appear forged in any way?
EMILY WILL
Without the originals to ink test-
MARY
Let me worry about the investigational side of the story.
EMILY WILL
I always work the whole thing. (pause)
Do you know where these originated? Establishing exact chain of custody would go a long way towards determining authenticity.
MARY
We're working on it...
INT. BURKETT HOME -- DAY
Burkett, on the phone with Mary. INTERCUT:
BURKETT
I give you the memos, you verify them, that was the deal. You call the Kerry campaign for me yet? They can't lie down on this swift boat shit.
50.
MARY
If I could just confirm where you got the memos, we would be home free.
BURKETT
I told you, I can't go on the record-
MARY
You wouldn't have to. Just give me the name. That's all I need.
A beat. Burkett exhaling. Then:
BURKETT
George Conn. Buddy of mine in the Guard. He was there for the scrubbing. But you call him and he'll deny it.
TIME CUT TO:
Through Mary's phone:
ANSWERING MACHINE (O.S.) You've reached the Conn Residence, please leave a message at the beep.
MARY
Colonel, this is Mary Mapes, I'm a producer at 60 Minutes. If you could call me back at your earliest convenience, it's regarding a story we're airing Wednesday night.
She hangs up as Colonel Charles pokes his head in.
COLONEL CHARLES
Matley's ready.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
Now set up for an interview. Several ENLARGEMENTS of signatures hang on a board. Marcel Matley - Document Examiner stands taking Dan through them as the CAMERA ROLLS.
MARCEL MATLEY
I would say based on our available handwriting evidence, yes, this is the same person.
(MORE)
51.
MARCEL MATLEY (CONT'D) Now, this signature on the June 24th document shows some conspicuous differences, but it also shows what I call inconspicuous similarities to Colonel Killian's handwriting.
DAN
Why might differences like that exist?
MARCEL MATLEY
The content of the memo is highly stressful, Killian telling a higher up that he cannot rate Bush during his absence. This is enough to explain differences in the penstrokes.
Dan just stares at him.
DAN
Would you give us a moment?
He turns and walks over to where Mary stands.
DAN (CONT'D)
It's like listening to someone describing paint dry-
MARY
He said it, though. It was in there somewhere. Can you get the bite?
Dan nods and walks back to Matley.
DAN
Are you saying that if I present these to the American public and say, to the best of our knowledge, these documents were all signed by the same man, I am going to be on solid ground?
A beat. Everyone leans forward to hear. On Matley.
MARCEL MATLEY
Yes.
TIMECUT TO:
52.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
After the interview. Matley has departed, the equipment sits dormant. Dan stands with Mary, Lucy, and Colonel Charles.
LUCY
Matley's a yes, Jim Pierce is a yes, Emily Will's still working and Linda James wants more documents, but says she'll defer to Matley.
MARY
All the dates and content in the Burkett memos mesh perfectly with the official record - I'm trying to have graphics mock something up to show it visually.
They look to Dan. He shakes his head.
DAN
We don't have it yet.
Groans from the others. Dan presses forward.
DAN (CONT'D)
Someone has to confirm the content of the memos. Someone who knew the players.
COLONEL CHARLES
No one from the Guard is gonna step up for that. Look at what happened to Burkett - you talk, you get your head chopped off.
DAN
What about Killian's family?
MARY
Super Pro-Bush so they'd never go for it, plus there was a divorce there. I don't know if she'd know anything.
DAN
Who were Killian's commanders again?
53.
MARY
Buck Staudt, who has figuratively and literally told me to go fuck myself, and Bobby Hodges, who I've left eighteen messages for.
Dan stares at her. His meaning clear.
MARY (CONT'D)
Fine, I'll go do nineteen...
INT. MARY'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Smith lies on the couch. Colonel Charles tosses a ball back and forth between his hands nervously. Mary dials her phone.
SMITH
You want to get pizza? (to Colonel Charles)
We should get pizza.
The phone is ringing. Picked up. Through the receiver:
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
Hello?
Mary blinks, surprised.
MARY
General Hodges?
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
Yes.
Mary snaps her fingers for them to pick up a second line to listen in.
MARY
This is, uh, Mary Mapes with 60 Minutes? I'd like to speak with you about some old memos I've come across from the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. They appear to be from the personal files of Jerry Killian?
A beat.
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
Okay.
54.
MARY
I'd like to read them to you if that's all right?
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
Okay.
MARY
Um, the first one is dated June 24, 1973 and the Subject is Bush, George W, 1st Lieutenant.
(reading)
Sir: I got a call from your staff concerning the evaluation of 1st Lieutenant Bush due this month. His rater is Lieutenant Colonel Harris. Neither Lieutenant Colonel Harris or I feel we can rate 1st Lieutenant Bush since he was not training with the 111th FIS since April 1972. His recent activity is outside the rating period. Advise me how we are supposed to handle this.
Hodges says nothing. Just breathes.
Smith and Colonel Charles are both staring, in disbelief Hodges hasn't hung up. Mary fumbles for a second memo.
MARY (CONT'D)
Okay, this one is August 18, 1973 and titled Subject: CYA, which I believe means "Cover Your Ass"?
(reading)
Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job.
No response. She continues.
MARY (CONT'D)
Harris gave me a message today from Group regarding Bush's OETR. And Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate. Austin is not happy either.
(MORE)
55.
MARY (CONT'D)
Harris took the call from Group today.
I will backdate but won't rate.
Harris agrees.
Silence. You could hear a pin drop. Mary lowers the paper.
MARY (CONT'D)
Sir, are these memos familiar to you?
A short exhale of breath from Hodges. Then:
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
They are.
Smith pumps his fist in victory!
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) (CONT'D) Using someone's personal notes, that's going overboard. You're trying to
make news, create a story here when there isn't one.
MARY
We're not trying to create anything,
General. Colonel Killian was upset
Bush missed his physical?
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) He was an overboard hardnose.
He didn't like the weekend guys. But Bush went to Alabama with
everyone's blessing. Killian thought he was doing the best job he could. You're creating a situation here...
INT. DAN'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Dan looks up to see Mary standing in his doorway, beaming.
MARY
We have it.
Dan grins.
INT. 60 MINUTES -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
Close on Dan.
56.
DAN
Tell me the truth, the whole truth about what happened with George W. Bush and the draft and the National Guard.
Sitting across from him, BEN BARNES heaves a sigh. Mary looks on, along with JOSH HOWARD and MARY MURPHY.
September 7th - 1 Day To Air
BEN BARNES (deep breath)
Sid Adger, a friend of the Bush family, came to see me and asked me if I would recommend George W. Bush for the Air National Guard. And I did.
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- AFTERNOON
Mary, Colonel Charles, Smith, Lucy, Mary Murphy, and Josh are crowded into the office.
MARY
I'm concerned about the sheer amount of story we have. Barnes, the documents, missing the physical, being AWOL from Alabama--
COLONEL CHARLES
It's like four different angles on the same story.
MARY
Maybe we could split them? Run Barnes tomorrow and the documents on the Sunday broadcast?
JOSH
Sunday show won't give us the real estate. Where are we with the rest of it?
Lucy checks her notes.
LUCY
Got an email from Emily Will, one of the examiners. She has some concerns about the superscript thing.
57.
JOSH
Superscript?
MARY
The raised "th" that comes after "111th". She was worried that function wasn't available on military typewriters in the 70's.
(to Lucy)
I spoke to Matley - he says they were available then. Emily told me she deferred to him.
JOSH
Good. White House will have someone for on camera in the morning. I can't send Dan because of the storm.
MARY
That fucking hurricane hates me.
INT. 60 MINUTES -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
September 8th - Day Of Air. Dark. The whole team sits, screening a ROUGH CUT of their piece on a drop down screen - Mary, Smith, Colonel Charles, Lucy, Josh, and Mary Murphy. There are lawyers and executives watching as well.
ON THE SCREEN - Dan speaking with Barnes:
BEN BARNES
I don't think I had any right to have the power that I had, to choose who was going to go to Vietnam and who was not going to go to Vietnam. That's power. In some instances, when I looked at those names, I was maybe determining life or death. And that's not a power that I want to have.
DAN
Too strong or not to say that you are ashamed of it now?
BEN BARNES
Oh, I think that would be somewhat of an appropriate thing. I'm very, very sorry.
58.
Cut to the 60 MINUTES STOPWATCH - Tick, tick, tick, tick...
The lights come up. The first person to speak is Betsy West -
Senior Vice President, Prime Time.
BETSY
What's it running?
MARY
Sixteen minutes, at least three over.
BETSY
Some of the document stuff is slow, you can definitely trim there.
JOSH
How about flipping it - open with
Barnes and then do the documents.
It would keep it chronological.
Betsy's nodding, she likes the idea.
BETSY
You've got three hours.
Pan to the wall where the clock reads 4:10...
INT. 60 MINUTES -- EDITING -- NIGHT
The clock on the wall here reads 6:52. An EDITOR toggles the footage back and forth. ONSCREEN:
MARCEL MATLEY
...Based on our available handwriting evidence, yes, this is the same person. Now, this signature on the June 24th document shows some conspicuous differences, but it also shows what I call inconspicuous similarities...
Josh taps our Mary on the shoulder and motions her out into the hall. She follows. Hushed:
JOSH
We need to lose Matley. We're forty seconds over and he's a shit interview. The meshing graphic's terrible too.
59.
MARY
It shows where the new documents fall in line with the originals-
JOSH
Poorly. We're out of time. It's your call. What do you want to do?
On Mary. A long beat...
MARY
Cut it.
TIMECUT TO:
Clock - 7:44. Everyone tense. The closest they've ever cut it. Mary stares at the screen. The others stare at Mary.
EDITOR
We have to start outputting in two minutes.
MARY
I know.
EDITOR
We don't start outputting in two minutes, we will not have a show.
Sweat on her brow. Stares at the screen. Finally:
MARY
Lock it. Start outputting.
She pushes back from the controls as the techs swoop in and start pushing buttons, outputting the report to tape. The Editor glances at the clock.
EDITOR
If there's a computer hiccup...
MARY
Tom, I worship you, but shut the fuck up.
All eyes on the progress bar. 20%... 30%... 40%...
SMITH
This is really tense.
60.
Nobody responds. Finally the computer PINGS with a done sound. Mary ejects the tape and hands it to Lucy.
MARY
GO!
Lucy RUNS...
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- KITCHEN -- NIGHT
Wrolstad sits with Robert. Clock on the wall, 8:00. Straight
up. From their TV - tick, tick, tick, tick, tick...
ON TV
Dan sits in front of an image the reads "FOR THE RECORD"
DAN
The military records of the two men running for president have become part of the political arsenal in this campaign - a tool for building up, or blowing up, each candidate's credibility as America's next commander-in-chief.
Robert looks up at the TV, toys momentarily forgotten...
DAN (CONT'D)
While Senator Kerry has been targeted for what he did in Vietnam, President Bush has been criticized for avoiding Vietnam by landing a spot in the Texas Air National Guard - and then apparently failing to meet some of his obligations in the Guard.
INT. BURKETT'S HOME -- NIGHT
Burkett and Nicki, together on their couch...
DAN
Did then Lieutenant Bush fulfill all of his military obligations?
INT. BEN BARNES' OFFICE -- NIGHT
Barnes sits alone with a glass of scotch, not watching...
61.
DAN (V.O.)
And just how did he land that spot in the National Guard in the first place?
INT. 60 MINUTES -- BULLPEN -- NIGHT
Mary, with her team. Push in on her face slowly, taking in the report, finally going out over the air:
DAN
Tonight we have new documents and new information on the President's military service, and the first-ever interview with the man who says he pulled strings to get young George W. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard...
Mary smiles. We FADE TO a MONTAGE of different people watching all over the country--
INT. DINER -- NIGHT
KITCHEN WORKERS and PATRONS eating dinner, watching the TV
bolted to the wall...
INT. AIRPORT GATE -- NIGHT
TRAVELERS waiting for their flights, watching as the story
plays...
INT. TEXAS BAR -- NIGHT
LOCALS sitting on barstools watching the TV among the christmas lights.
People from all different walks of life, all being touched by the power of television.
FADE TO:
A MONTAGE of NEWSCASTS - all covering the story. Overlapping soundbites about Bush's Guard service, growing until we see a TELEVISION SET - Showing a Local New York NEWSCAST:
LOCAL NEWSCASTER
...The 60 Minutes report which unearthed new documents regarding
(MORE)
62.
LOCAL NEWSCASTER (CONT'D) the President is sending shockwaves throughout Washington tonight...
INT. PIERRE HOTEL BAR -- NIGHT
Later. Our group, celebrating at the bar. Smith and Lucy watching the TV. The Colonel next to him.
COLONEL CHARLES
This is what our business is now. Reporting on reporting. Why break news when you can just talk about other news? Thirty minutes from now, someone's gonna do a story on this guy doing a story on us. And then they'll all win Peabodies.
LUCY
This one mattered.
Smith smiles at her. Elsewhere Mary's phone rings. She steps away from the group, answering.
MARY
Hello?
INTERCUT:
WROLSTAD
Nice. Even the kid liked it.
MARY
Really?
WROLSTAD
You're a hell of a reporter, babe.
Mary smiles. Means the world to her.
MARY
I'll be home tomorrow, okay?
WROLSTAD
Okay.
Wrolstad hangs up. Mary pockets her phone, turning back to the bar. Then stops.
ACROSS THE ROOM
63.
Stands Dan. Talking to some people he knows. He catches her eye. Raises a glass to her. A dignified salute. A beat. She raises hers back.
No words spoken. No words needed. A real moment between them. Dan smiles and returns to his conversation. And Mary goes back to her team at the bar.
FADE TO BLACK
As we hear more and more reports about the story, now in
different languages as it is picked up all over the world...
FADE IN ON:
EXT. WEST 57TH STREET -- MORNING
Mary crossing the street, headed for building 555...
NEWSCASTER (O.S.)
...Latest overnight polls which have Bush's numbers stabilizing and Kerry rising...
INT. MARY'S OFFICE -- MORNING
Mary, drinking coffee. Checking email. One from Josh.
I was just sitting here thinking about how amazing you are. I'm buckled in, waiting to see where you take us next. Let's go!
Josh
Mary smiles. Sips her coffee. A moment of serenity and peace. And then Betsy West comes around the corner.
BETSY
Mary, what's going on? These blogs are saying the memos can be recreated exactly in Microsoft Word.
Mary blinks.
MARY
Who's saying this?
BETSY
A conservative website. (MORE)
64.
BETSY (CONT'D) (reading a printout)
Every one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman.
As she continues reading, Mary swivels back to her computer,
opens MS Word, grabs a memo and begins to RETYPE IT...
BETSY (CONT'D)
In 1972 typewriters used monospaced fonts. The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use until the introduction of personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.
She stops as Mary holds a copy of the memo up to the screen. Staring at them both. They look nearly IDENTICAL.
BETSY (CONT'D)
Mary... what the hell is going on?
Mary stares at the screen. She has no idea.
SMITH (O.S.)
It's on Drudge!
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- MORNING
Josh and Mary Murphy, looking at the Drudge Report website. The headline - BUSH DOCUMENTS FAKE.
JOSH (reading)
The spacing is not just similar, it is identical. Notice that the date lines up perfectly, all the line breaks are in the same places, and all letters line up with the same letters above and below.
(MORE)
65.
JOSH (CONT'D)
And I did not change a single thing from Word's defaults; margins, type size, tab stops, etcetera, are all using the default settings-
Josh's phone rings. He stops. They look at each other.
MURPHY
What the hell are we gonna do?
Josh answers the phone.
JOSH
Hello?
(listens; to Murphy) Betsy's office, right now.
INT. BETSY WEST'S OFFICE -- DAY
Mary, Smith, Colonel Charles, and Lucy sit on a couch. Josh and Murphy across from them. Betsy stands with Gil Schwartz -
CBS Public Relations.
SCHWARTZ
Due respect, did you fuck up?
MARY
We had four document examiners working separately and not one of them said the memos weren't real.
SCHWARTZ
Did any of them try typing them into
Microsoft Word?
MARY
I don't know, Gil, I'm not a document examiner, but I'm assuming part of their job was making sure these things weren't whipped up last Tuesday.
JOSH
Just because some guys on the internet have a problem with our reporting-
BETSY
It's not just guys on the internet.
ABC News is going after this.
Nightline specifically-
66.
MARY
You mean they're going after Dan.
A beat. Schwartz looks to Betsy.
BETSY
Yes.
SCHWARTZ
Tell them about the superscript.
BETSY
It's the little "th" that pops up after you type a number like 111th-
MARY
I know what it is, what about it?
BETSY
Bloggers are saying it's a big red flag this was done on a computer. They say it didn't exist on typewriters in the 1970's.
LUCY
One of our examiners raised that concern as well.
Mary shoots her a glance.
MARY
Emily Will, yeah, but Matley said they did have them and she deferred to him.
SCHWARTZ
They will kill us on that. They will kill us on that alone.
JOSH
I don't understand, what do they want?
MARY
They want us to say we're wrong. Because if we're wrong, all the questions we asked about the President's service go away.
They're all looking at her now.
67.
MARY (CONT'D)
Look, we have the document examiners. We have Bob Strong, who worked at Guard headquarters and says the memos are written in the vernacular of the Guard at the time. And we have Bobby Hodges, Killian's commanding officer, who confirmed both the content of the memos and that they reflected Killian's state of mind at the time.
We have this story.
BETSY
Make sure. Reconfirm with everybody.
SCHWARTZ
And find us another goddamn "th" in the official record, okay? I wanna ram it down their throats.
INT. CBS NEWS -- MAKE UP ROOM -- AFTERNOON
Dan, getting made up for the news. Mary pokes her head in.
MARY
You've heard?
DAN
Yes. And it's bullshit, pardon my French. People have been attacking me for thirty years, it's not going to start bothering me now. Are you okay?
Mary nods. Then:
MARY
We're gonna be in a fight here, Dan.
DAN
I still got a few good ones left in me.
MARY
You get your contract sewn up yet?
DAN
I got the President of the news division his job here, I'll be fine.
(MORE)
68.
DAN (CONT'D)
Now give me something to hit back with.
INT. 60 MINUTES -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- AFTERNOON
STACKS of boxes on the center table. All of them labeled BUSH GUARD RECORDS. Smith, Colonel Charles, and Lucy stand.
COLONEL CHARLES
We need to find that "th"...
He pulls off the top of the first box...
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- EVENING
Josh, at his desk. ON TV - Dan giving the news:
DAN
--Killing 9 people and wounding 180. Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian terrorist group claimed responsibility--
Josh changes the channel to ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.
PETER JENNINGS --Several document experts contacted by ABC News have raised serious questions about the authenticity of these new memos...
INT. MARY'S OFFICE -- EVENING
Mary, dialing her phone. ABC also on her TV:
PETER JENNINGS
And then there's this, the little superscript "th". That's something very few typewriters could do in 1972--
Mary MUTES Jennings as the phone rings. Through the line:
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
You have reached Robert Hodges, please leave a message.
69.
MARY
General Hodges, this is Mary Mapes, we need to get in touch again as soon as possible. Please call me.
She hangs up. Rises and goes out her door to
INT. 60 MINUTES OFFICES -- BULLPEN
Walking past the desks, she notices she's drawing the stares of a few co-workers. She's the woman who did this. She heads to
INT. 60 MINUTES CONFERENCE ROOM -- NIGHT
Her team still goes through documents. Smith sees her come
in. Shakes his head. Mary pulls up a chair to help...
TIMECUT TO:
LATER. The group continues to sift through papers. ON TV -- NIGHTLINE. A woman being interviewed, the graphic reads
Marjorie Connell - Jerry Killian's Widow
MARJORIE CONNELL (O.S.) Number one, he would not have typed because he did not type. Number two, the wording is very suspect to me. I just can't believe that this is my late husband's words-
MUTED. They look up. Josh, holding the remote. Pissed.
JOSH
Staudt was already out of the Guard.
MARY
What are you talking about?
JOSH (holding it up)
The CYA memo dated August 18, 1973 - "Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush." Staudt left the guard in 1972. So how the fuck could he still be pressuring?
A beat.
70.
MARY
Listen. When a commanding officer-
JOSH
The bloggers are having a field day with this!
MARY
When a General leaves his posting and goes to work for Conoco on the same base he still wields an enormous amount of influence there. Doesn't matter when he left. Back me up, Roger.
COLONEL CHARLES
She's right.
Josh stares at them.
JOSH
Forgive me if I don't think everyone's going to see it the way you do.
Silence as this sinks in. On TV Gary Killian - Son of Jerry Killian is speaking. Almost to make a point, Josh UNMUTES:
GARY KILLIAN
-It was not the nature of my father to keep private files like this, nor would it have been in his own interest to do so.
Josh throws the remote on the table and stalks out. A beat.
SMITH
This is bad...
COLONEL CHARLES
No. When they start asking to talk to our source? Then it will be bad.
LUCY
They're coming for us, Roger.
Silence. The Colonel looks back down to his stack of papers and stops.
COLONEL CHARLES
I got one.
71.
Everyone looks it him.
MARY
What?
COLONEL CHARLES (staring at the page)
I... have a superscript "th". Here.
And they're moving towards him now, taking the paper from him. Looking to see, a superscript "th", plain as day.
MARY
Josh!
Josh rushes back in. Mary holds up the page for him to see.
MARY (CONT'D)
Call Dan, tell him we just got in the fight.
EXT. WEST 57TH STREET -- MORNING
The sun shining as it rises...
INT. DAN'S APARTMENT -- MORNING
Dan sits at his kitchen table. Drinking his coffee watching GOOD MORNING AMERICA:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS CBS is still standing by its story and in fact they're also pointing to another source, a Colonel Robert Hodges, who was an immediate superior to Mr. Killian.
INT. MARY'S OFFICE -- MORNING
Mary typing feverishly. Her TV plays the same broadcast.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS They said they read these documents to Colonel Hodges and he said "that sounds like what Killian was telling me at the time". Hodges is not speaking to anyone else yet.
72.
MARY
(shouting at the TV)
Because we can't get him on the fucking phone!
INT. DAN'S APARTMENT -- MORNING
CHARLES GIBSON
Has it come to this, though, George? You were talking about the fact we've all become experts on documents in the last few days. Has it come to this, that, that questions get raised?
Dan drinks his coffee. Ready for the fight.
INT. CBS EVENING NEWS -- BROADCAST STUDIO -- EVENING
Dan sits at the anchor desk, delivering the night's broadcast.
DAN
Those raising questions about the documents have focused on something called superscript, a key that automatically types a raised "th."
IN THE FISHBOWL
Mary and the others watch on monitors. GRAPHICS of the documents with Dan's voice-over:
DAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) Critics claim typewriters didn't have that ability in the 1970s. But some models did.
Shots of a 111th from the Killian Memo and a 111th from an official memo are shown side by side.
DAN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
In fact, other Bush military records already released by the White House itself show the same superscript - here's one from 1968. Some analysts outside CBS say they believe the typeface on these memos is New Times Roman, which they claim was not available in the 1970s.
(MORE)
73.
DAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) But the owner of the company that distributes this typing style says it has been available since 1931.
Shots of MATLEY looking at the documents and the enlargements of the signatures.
DAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents for CBS News. He says he believes they are real, but is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people now questioning the documents, because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced. And the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with.
Shots of Dan and Matley looking at the documents.
DAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) Matley did this interview with us prior to Wednesday's broadcast. He looked at the documents and the signatures of Colonel Jerry Killian, comparing known documents with the Colonel's signature on the newly discovered ones.
Cut to Matley, sitting in a chair for the interview.
MARCEL MATLEY
We look basically at what's called significant or insignificant features to determine whether it's the same person or not. I have no problem identifying them. I would say based on our available handwriting evidence, yes, this is the same person.
VOICE-OVER from Dan:
74.
DAN (V.O.)
Matley finds the signatures to be some of the most compelling evidence. We talked to him again today by satellite.
Dan in the studio, speaking to Matley on a big screen TV.
DAN (CONT'D)
Are you surprised from some of the questions that comes from these? We're not, but are you surprised?
MARCEL MATLEY
I knew going in that this was dynamite one way or the other. And I knew that potentially it could do far
more damage to me professionally than benefit me. But we seek the truth. That's what we do. You're supposed to put yourself out, to seek the truth and take what comes from it.
INT. CBS EVENING NEWS -- "THE FISHBOWL" -- NIGHT
After the broadcast. Dan pushes through the door and Mary and Betsy rise to meet him.
DAN
Told you I had it in me.
BETSY
I'm calling Andrew right now...
She steps away, dialing her cell. Dan shakes his head.
MARY
F.E.A.
DAN
No kidding. What did you think?
MARY
I think you parked it.
Smith runs up, excited.
SMITH
Bobby Hodges is on the phone.
75.
INT. DAN'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Dan at his desk, Mary on his couch. Each with a phone to their ear. Mary punches through the call.
MARY
General Hodges, it's Mary Mapes. I have Dan Rather on the line with me-
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) Why is the Washington Post describing me as your "trump card" in this?
You tell 'em that, Dan?
A beat.
DAN
I did not, sir.
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) It says a highly placed CBS source referred to me as your trump card-
MARY
General, that was not me and it was not Dan-
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) Because I'm not. I've seen all the coverage, and I have to say, I think the memos are fakes.
MARY
You- Excuse me?
Dan looks over at Mary - what the hell?
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
I do not believe Jerry Killian wrote those memos.
Mary is frantically going through her notebook.
MARY
Sir, when we spoke on September 6th- I'm sorry, I'm just going through my notes- when we spoke, you said the content of the memos was familiar to you, is that correct?
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
Yes.
MARY
And that they "reflected Colonel
Killian's mindset at the time".
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) They do. But I hadn't physically seen them-
MARY
What physically about the memos makes you now doubt their authenticity?
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) Jerry's family says he didn't write them.
Mary looks like she's about to pop a blood vessel. a different tack.
DAN
General, the thrust of our story was about what happened with the President's guard service. Now if, as you say, Colonel Killian really felt this way and the things described in the memos - pressure from higher up to get him in and then to give
him breaks is true, we would like to talk to you about that.
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) I'm just telling you I now believe the memos are forgeries-
DAN
Forget the memos. Is what we presented regarding President Bush accurate?
A beat.
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
I don't want to get in the middle of this.
76.
Dan tries
77.
DAN
Would you be willing to sit down with me tomorrow? I can come there-
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.)
I'm sorry. Maybe after the election.
MARY
General-
GENERAL HODGES (O.S.) The family says they're fake and I'm supporting the family. I'm sorry.
CLICK. He's hung up. Silence. And then
MARY
Shit!
INT. ANDREW HEYWARD'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Thick rugs and leather couches. Mary sits on one. Betsy working the phones, Josh stands over her. Heyward at his desk, Gil Schwartz at his side.
ANDREW HEYWARD What are we doing about Hodges recanting?
MARY
We say we respect General Hodges and believe him the first time we spoke with him.
Betsy hangs up the phone. Weary.
BETSY
ABC is reaching out to two of our examiners, Emily Will and Linda James. They say they never authenticated.
MARY
Of course they didn't. They couldn't.
SCHWARTZ
Why?
MARY Because they're copies!
(MORE)
78.
MARY (CONT'D) (off their looks)
There's no original ink or paper to test, so one can say with a hundred percent certainty they're real or forgeries. That's why they can attack us.
Heyward and Schwartz stare at her.
SCHWARTZ
Jesus Christ...
ANDREW HEYWARD
But on the internet they are certain,
Mary, and it's killing us.
MARY
Those are lousy wannabe analysts-
ANDREW HEYWARD
Then we'll get some lousy analysts of our own! We are losing this war!
MARY
Our story was about whether Bush's connections got him into the Guard and covered for him when he missed commitments and every bit of research we found backs that up! The documents were just a small part of that, but they weren't the point of the story-
ANDREW HEYWARD
It doesn't matter what the point was! We need to stop the bleeding-
MARY
They do not get to do this!
JOSH
Do what?
MARY
They do not get to smack us just for asking the question!
Silence. Josh looks away. Mary doesn't seem to realize what she's said. Heyward turns away from her.
79.
ANDREW HEYWARD
I want new analysts backing us by
Monday morning. Go.
It takes Mary a moment to find the door. Josh stays. Heyward looks at him, questioning.
JOSH
Andrew... The way this entire thing has been handled... If you'd like my resignation, I understand.
Heyward stares at him. Softly:
ANDREW HEYWARD
Get out of my office.
INT. PIERRE HOTEL -- MARY'S HOTEL ROOM -- NIGHT
Mary lies on the bed, staring at her ceiling. Bad headache. The lights buzz. Her laptop beeps. She crawls to it. New EMAIL. From Dan Rather. She clicks on it.
Don't forget to eat.
Mary smiles. Then has an idea. Types in a web address. Right-wing message board.
Knows she shouldn't, but doing it anyway. Scrolling through comments. Most of them focusing on CBS. Keeps scrolling. And then she stops.
Pasted into the comments is a PHOTO OF HERSELF. Next to it --
Here's the bitch.
Mary stares at it. A beat. Scrolls down.
God, does she look like an evil lefty sneak.
Somebody wore out the whole bag of ugly sticks on her.
Ugly stick? She fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Scrolls farther.
YUP. She sure looks like a socialist to me.
Mapes: feminazi propagandist.
80.
Methinks she is also of the "diesel" persuasion. A good many of them are forced to join those ranks because men avoid them like the plague.
I'm picturing Sean Hannity right now sharpening his knife to gut this witch.
Eyes focused on the last three words floating on the screen...
Gut this witch
CUT TO:
INT. MARY'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT
Wrolstad blinks awake. Looks at the clock. 3:31. Looks beside him. No one there.
The sound of a printer working comes from down the hall...
INT. MARY'S HOME OFFICE -- NIGHT
Mary sips cold coffee as the printer clacks back and forth. HUGE STACKS OF PRINTOUTS litter the office.
WROLSTAD (O.S.)
When did you get in?
She turns to see him in the doorway.
MARY
I was worried there'd be cameras at the airport. Didn't want Robert to see that.
Wrolstad nods, pretending he's okay with that.
WROLSTAD
So what are you doing in here?
MARY (not looking up)
Working.
Wrolstad looks at her.
WROLSTAD
You want to go take a walk or-
81.
MARY
No, I don't want to take a fucking walk, Mark, I want to sit here and do this, okay?
WROLSTAD
Okay.
He backs out of the room, leaving her to it.
INT. MARY'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT
Wrolstad blinks awake again. Mary's standing over him.
MARY
Sorry.
WROLSTAD
It's okay.
She sits on the edge of the bed.
MARY
No, it's not. It's like no matter what I say or do, I'm gonna get hit.
WROLSTAD
This isn't that.
MARY
When my Dad used to start in on me, I'd think, "I'm not gonna cry, I'm not gonna ask him to stop." I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of seeing how much it hurts. So he'd just go harder. And I'd think,
Someday, I am going to fight you.
(shakes her head) But I never did.
Wrolstad stares at her.
WROLSTAD
Now.
She looks up at him, confused.
82.
WROLSTAD (CONT'D)
You have to fight now.
CUT TO:
ON TV -- An exhausted Dan, interviewing Bill Glennon, an IBM Typewriter Repairman. One of CBS's new "lousy experts".
BILL GLENNON Everything in those documents that
people are saying can't be done thirty- two years ago are totally false. Proportional spacing was available, superscripts were available as a custom feature, proportional spacing between lines was available; you
could order that any way you like...
PULL BACK to reveal we are in
INT. 60 MINUTES -- EDITING -- EVENING
Mary, cutting the interview, with Smith, Colonel Charles, and the Editor. Josh steps in. Shuts the door.
JOSH
Word's come down from Andrew. They want to talk to your source.
MARY
What if my source doesn't want to talk to them?
JOSH
Then you'll convince him. You're good at convincing people to do things, aren't you?
Mary's eyes narrow.
MARY
I just want you to know how important your support has been through this entire process.
JOSH
Call your fucking source, Mary.
He slams the door behind him. The Colonel turns to Smith.
83.
COLONEL CHARLES
Now it's bad.
INT. MARY'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Mary, on the phone with Nicki Burkett. INTERCUT:
NICKI
You said he wouldn't have to.
MARY
Nicki-
NICKI
You said you'd verify the documents and he wouldn't have to do anything else-
MARY (sharply)
Well, it didn't work out that way, did it?
No response. Mary sighs.
MARY (CONT'D)
I'm sorry, Nicki, I'm tired.
NICKI
Bill did nothing wrong.
MARY
No one's saying he did. I just need him to get on the phone with my boss and tell him what he told me.
Nicki doesn't respond. Mary plays her last card.
MARY (CONT'D)
It would mean a lot to Dan. Please?
Another beat and then...
INT. HEYWARD'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Mary, Dan, and Betsy on couches. Josh and Mary Murphy sit in chairs. Heyward sits at his desk, leaning on a speaker phone.
84.
ANDREW HEYWARD
Bill? This is Andrew Heyward, I'm the President of CBS News.
BURKETT (O.S.)
Is Dan there?
DAN
I'm here, Colonel.
BURKETT (O.S.) Heard Hodges turned tail on you. All these guys run from it. You know I got health problems?
Heyward glances at the others - "who is this guy?"
ANDREW HEYWARD
I had heard that, which is why I don't want to take up too much of your time. I was wondering if you'd fill me in on a few things.
BURKETT (O.S.)
Shoot.
ANDREW HEYWARD
Well, how you came to be in possession of the documents. You told Mary it was from a man named George Conn?
BURKETT (O.S.)
She was bugging me so much about it
I had to tell her something.
On Mary, her face sinking. Heyward shoots her a look.
ANDREW HEYWARD
So that's not accurate?
BURKETT (O.S.)
No, sir, it is not.
Mary curses under her breath.
ANDREW HEYWARD
Would you mind telling us what really happened?
85.
BURKETT (O.S.)
I got a call in March from a guy who said a woman named Lucy Ramirez wanted to get in contact with me.
He told me to call the Houston Holiday Inn between 7 and 10 and ask for a specific room, so I did. This Ramirez woman told me she was supposed to be a go-between, a person to deliver a package of documents to me.
Betsy scribbles furiously to get this all down...
BURKETT (O.S.) (CONT'D) I was supposed to copy the documents inside and then burn the originals, which were also copies, and the envelope. Destroy the DNA evidence of where they come from, you see.
ANDREW HEYWARD
Of course.
BURKETT (O.S.)
So she says "When are you gonna be in Houston next?" And I tell her we're coming to the Livestock Show in a few weeks - we sell Simmental cattle. The Show is an excellent way to advertise our bull semen.
On Betsy's notes - burn papers, livestock show, bull semen...
BURKETT (O.S.) (CONT'D) So the first day at the show, a dark skinned fellah comes up, hands me an envelope, walks away. Inside are those memos. I burned the rest like he said. Done and done.
ANDREW HEYWARD
And was this the same man who talked to you on the phone?
BURKETT (O.S.)
No idea. Maybe.
ANDREW HEYWARD
And you didn't tell Mary all this before because...
86.
BURKETT (O.S.) Said I'd keep it quiet.
Mary did a good job on this. Don't judge her too harshly.
MARY
(hollow) Thanks, Bill.
BURKETT (O.S.)
De nada.
Heyward, still reeling.
ANDREW HEYWARD
Bill, this is, uh- this is pretty amazing stuff. Maybe you'd be willing to sit down and talk about it for
us? Help clear the air for everyone?
BURKETT (O.S.)
Don't know. What do you think, Dan?
DAN
I think they can't hit us any harder than they already are, Colonel. Go on the record and tell the truth.
Be done with it.
Silence. Finally:
BURKETT (O.S.)
Okay.
ANDREW HEYWARD
My office will make the necessary arrangements. Thanks for your time.
BURKETT (O.S.)
Goodbye.
CLICK. Call over. Everyone sits there in silence. And then Mary LAUGHS at the absurdity of it all. Can't help it.
BETSY
You think this is funny?
MARY
You don't? It's The Manchurian
Candidate meets Hee Haw!
87.
ANDREW HEYWARD
We need him on camera as soon as possible. Betsy?
Betsy nods as the group rises and heads for the door.
ANDREW HEYWARD (CONT'D)
Mary, hang back a sec?
Mary does. The others leave. Heyward shuts the door behind them and turns back to her. Just the two of them.
ANDREW HEYWARD (CONT'D) When you sit with Burkett, there should be a line of questioning about his motives. His political leanings, his views on the President. Why he lied. People are going to cover how we cover this. We need to inoculate ourselves.
MARY
Thou shalt protect the company...
ANDREW HEYWARD
Fuck that, I want Dan to survive this.
MARY
Why wouldn't he survive this?
Heyward looks at her. Doesn't respond. A beat.
MARY (CONT'D)
If Dan feels like this is corporate positioning, he won't do it.
ANDREW HEYWARD
He won't for me. He will for you.
INT. PLANE (FLYING) -- MORNING
Betsy sits across the aisle. Dan sits at the window, staring out at the clouds. Mary is next to him. Watching him. Trying to decide what to do.
EXT. DALLAS/FORT WORTH AIRPORT -- ARRIVALS
Mary, Betsy and Dan exit the airport terminal to find PROTESTERS and CAMERA CREWS shouting at them. Pandemonium.
88.
MARY
Jesus!
A FOX NEWS REPORTER pushes to the front of the scrum, sticks a microphone in Dan's face and breathlessly asks:
REPORTER
Dan, you broadcast those fake memos!
Do you feel duped?
DAN
You work for Fox News. Do you?
Mary hustles him into a waiting car and shuts the door.
EXT. CRESCENT COURT HOTEL -- MORNING
Crescent Court Hotel - Dallas, Texas. A lushly appointed hotel. Smith and Colonel Charles stand in front motor-court. Smith eyes the nearby fountain. Familiar.
SMITH
I think I've been thrown out of this hotel...
The Colonel spots Mary and Dan's car approaching.
COLONEL CHARLES
Here they come.
The car enters the hotel grounds and pulls to a halt beside the fountain. Mary, Dan, and Betsy get out of the car.
DAN
Where are the Burketts?
COLONEL CHARLES
Upstairs getting ready.
MARY
Dan?
He looks at her.
MARY (CONT'D)
We need to ask why he lied to us. (exchanging looks
with Betsy)
We need to make sure we get that.
89.
INT. HOTEL ROOM -- DAY
Dan, Mary, and Betsy come into the Burkett's room as Bill and Nicki rise to greet him.
DAN
Just wanted to come in say and hello before we get going.
BURKETT
Well, thanks for that, Dan.
DAN
These things are fairly easy, we'll just sit and talk a bit. I'm also going to ask about why you misled us, didn't want to take you by surprise with that.
BURKETT
I expected that, and I'll be happy to set that straight.
DAN
Great. Anytime you need to stop, get a drink of water, whatever, let us know. If you'll excuse me, I gotta go get my war-paint on.
(smiles)
Worst part of this is the make up.
Burkett smiles as Dan excuses himself. Off to the side, Nicki stands with Mary and Betsy. Her simple cotton dress no match for the fashionable clothes of the news women.
MARY
It's going to be fine, Nicki.
On Nicki's face. Not buying it.
INT. HOTEL -- HOSPITALITY SUITE -- DAY
The lights blaze down. Dan sits across from Burkett. Make- up caking on his sweaty face. The interview is into it's second hour. Burkett is visibly tired.
DAN
...But you told us a different story.
90.
BURKETT
To protect the people who gave me the documents.
DAN
Did they ask you to do this?
BURKETT
They had wanted me to burn everything they- yeah, they didn't want people to know they were the source on this.
DAN
This man and this mystery woman.
BURKETT That's right.
(pause)
Can I get some more water?
DAN
Of course.
A PA hands Burkett water. Mary and Betsy walk over to Dan.
BETSY
We need a better bite on this. Maybe instead of "Did they ask you to do that", say "Did they ask you to lie?"
Dan looks to Mary, who nods.
MARY
I agree.
DAN
Okay.
Burkett finishes sipping the water. Dan looks to him.
DAN (CONT'D)
We're going to go back for a moment.
BURKETT
Okay.
DAN
This man and this mystery woman, did they ask you to lie to us?
91.
BURKETT
They didn't want me to say how I got the documents.
DAN
And that's why you initially misled us?
Betsy begins writing something on a card...
BURKETT
Yes.
She hands the card to Mary - So that's why you lied you us?
Mary looks at her. Betsy nods, urging "go on"...
BURKETT (CONT'D)
Your producer was pushing me to find out where I got the memos from.
Mary hands Dan the card who scans it.
DAN
So that's why you lied to us?
BURKETT
Yes. And I know it caused some problems.
He reaches for the water again. Dan pauses as he takes a several gulps from it. Betsy is writing another card.
Why didn't you tell us the truth when you gave us the memos?
Mary raises an eyebrow at her. Betsy gives her another "go on" look. Mary hands the card to Dan while Burkett breathes. Dan looks at Mary. Not pleased, but he'll do it.
DAN
(to Burkett; gently) Whenever you're ready.
Burkett nods. Finishes with the water. Nicki takes it from him, not pleased with how this is going.
DAN (CONT'D)
You say you knew this would cause problems.
92.
BURKETT
I know it did, I didn't know it would.
DAN
So, again, why didn't you just tell us the truth when you gave us the memos?
An exhale from Nicki on the sidelines. Not happy with this.
BURKETT
I was trying to protect people, Dan. People who were trying to tell the truth about what happened back then.
Betsy, writing again - So you decided to lie about where the documents came from? Mary shakes her head. Not doing it.
DAN
And you believe these documents are telling the truth?
BURKETT
I do.
Betsy hands it to Dan herself. Dan looks at it. Frowns.
DAN
We have that already.
BETSY
I want to make sure we have enough so it'll cut-
DAN (sharply)
We have it. I'm moving on.
Betsy moves back to her chair, chastened. Across the room, Nicki Burkett stares at Mary, furious.
INT. HOTEL ROOM -- AFTERNOON
After. Mary, Betsy, Smith and Roger sitting silence. Passing a package of potato chips back and forth. Smith exhales.
SMITH
He's a good guy, you know.
93.
BETSY
You think I enjoyed that? We should cut something for Nightly, get it out immediately. Andrew agrees.
COLONEL CHARLES
F.E.A.
BETSY
You guys and Dan always say that, what the hell does it mean?
A knock at the door.
MARY
It's open!
The door opens to reveal Nicki Burkett. Lips pursed and eyes glistening. A beat.
MARY (CONT'D)
How's Bill doing?
NICKI
(softly)
Don't you dare ask how Bill is. Bill is sick. He's a sick man. And you don't give a damn about him. You just spent two hours trying to destroy him. You made him crawl on- camera. You made him say, again and again, that he lied and it still wasn't enough for you. You wanted more. You wanted to put the blame on him for all the things you did wrong putting this story together. You want to wrap it all up in a neat package and say "It's all Bill Burkett's fault." Well, it's not, and you know it. And you promised when we came here to do this interview, we would get a fair shake
and we got nothing from you but lies.
She's so mad she's shaking. Everyone else is too.
MARY
Nicki-
94.
NICKI
You may think I'm some stupid hick who doesn't know a damn thing about a damn thing and you are so smart and such a big shot. But I keep my promises and I don't destroy people to protect myself. I don't destroy people and humiliate them and then pretend I give a goddamn about how they are. To answer your question, Bill is not good. But then, you knew that already.
Silence. No one else can summon a word.
Nicki turns and leaves them. Betsy crumples up the chips bag and tosses it on the table. Not hungry anymore.
EXT. LAGUARDIA AIRPORT -- NIGHT
As a plane touches down...
INT. CBS NEWS -- LOBBY
Dan walks in, hefting his overnight bag. Andrew Heyward stands waiting for him. Dan sees the look in his eyes.
ANDREW HEYWARD
We need to talk.
INT. PIERRE HOTEL -- MARY'S ROOM -- NIGHT
Late. A knocking at the door. Mary clicks on the light and goes to answer it. Dan, in his trench coat.
DAN
What are the chances you have something alcoholic in there?
MARY
Better than average.
INT. PIERRE HOTEL -- MARY'S ROOM -- LATER
Dan sits on the sofa as Mary pours him a drink from tiny mini-bar bottles.
DAN
How long have we known each other?
95.
MARY
Oh, Jesus, it's that bad?
Mary hands him his drink and sits on the bed.
DAN
There is going to be an investigation. CBS is going to appoint an independent panel to look in to how the story
was put together. I'm to make an announcement about it tomorrow.
(pause)
And I'm going to apologize for the story on air.
MARY
Andrew asked you to apologize?
Dan looks up at her.
DAN
He did not ask.
MARY
It's surrender.
DAN
Since Burkett changed his story, Andrew says CBS will no longer risk its reputation on this.
MARY
He knew. Even before we went down there. He just wanted Burkett on tape...
DAN
I need you to do me a favor. I need you to stop worrying about me.
MARY
That's not gonna happen-
DAN
You need to protect yourself now.
We all do.
He puts his drink down and withdraws a BUSINESS CARD. Leaves it on the table. Mary looks at it. It is for a lawyer.
96.
INT. MARY'S OFFICE -- EVENING
Mary sits on her couch. Josh across from her. ON TV - The feed from the EVENING NEWSCAST downstairs.
DAN
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 Minutes Wednesday story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question, and their source, vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American Public know whatever the outcome-
Mary clicks off her TV. Can't watch anymore. She looks at Josh. Then:
MARY
I'm sorry this was your first story here.
JOSH
I'm thinking next week we should just have Dan shoot the President. Would cause much less drama.
Mary laughs. Josh smiles. A nice moment. Broken by Betsy coming through the door, a strange look on her face.
BETSY
Mary? USA Today wants to know if you put Burkett in touch with the Kerry campaign in exchange for documents?
MARY
I know what this is about. Josh, remember when I told you Burkett wanted to give the Kerry campaign advice on the swift boat stuff?
Josh just stares at her.
MARY (CONT'D)
I wanted to do a bullshit check on Burkett after he said he'd talked to
(MORE)
97.
MARY (CONT'D)
Howard Dean? You said I could contact the Kerry people to check and then Burkett wanted me to give them his phone number and you said I could,
so I did. (pause)
Do you remember any of this?
JOSH
(softly)
I must not have made myself clear. You must have misunderstood what I said you could do.
Mary looks at him, stricken.
BETSY
Jesus Christ! What else is going to fucking happen here! Unbelievable!
MARY
Betsy-
BETSY
No, you know what, Mary? Maybe it's best if you just went home.
Mary looks from one of them to the other. Josh won't meet
her gaze. A beat. She gathers up her things...
INT. CBS NEWS -- LOBBY -- EVENING
Mary's heels clack on the marble floor as she heads for the exit. TV's on the wall play the CBS EVENING NEWS. Dan's voice, echoing all around her...
DAN (O.S.)
After extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents
came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to
(MORE)
98.
DAN (O.S.) (CONT'D)
a point where, if I knew then what I know now, I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
She pushes out through the doors into the night...
INT. MARY'S LIVING ROOM -- DAY
Wrolstad holds the phone to his ear.
WROLSTAD
...I'm sorry, she's not speaking to reporters at this time.
He hangs up and retakes his seat next to Mary. Sitting across from Smith and Colonel Charles, who opens a file folder.
COLONEL CHARLES
CBS has hired the firm of Kirkpatrick and Lockhart Nicholson Graham to conduct the Review Panel.
Mary looks at her friends.
MARY
You paper trailed them.
SMITH
(smiles) Of course.
COLONEL CHARLES
Over a thousand lawyers, headquartered in Seattle. They specialize in internal investigations. They're
the ones Bush brought in to rip apart WorldCom last year.
WROLSTAD
The same WorldCom that committed an 11 billion dollar fraud leading to the largest bankruptcy filing in US History?
MARY
And we're as bad as them?
99.
SMITH
It gets worse.
Colonel Charles flips the page.
COLONEL CHARLES
The panel will be co-chaired by K and L partner Richard Thornburgh.
Mary and Wrolstad can't believe it.
COLONEL CHARLES (CONT'D) Former governor of Pennsylvania, first appointed as a U.S. Attorney by Richard Nixon. Ran for Congress twice, lost to Democrats both times. Second campaign was run by Karl Rove. But the crown jewel of his resume is serving as U.S. Attorney General from 1988 to 1991 under former President George H.W. Bush.
SMITH
The man running this "independent panel" worked for Bush's father.
Silence.
MARY
Jesus. Who goes in first?
SMITH
Dan, then me, then Lucy, the Colonel, then you. You're the grand finale.
WROLSTAD
Why?
COLONEL CHARLES
Because they want to have everything they can on you before they put you in that chair.
Mary doesn't know what to say. The phone rings again. Wrolstad snatches it up.
WROLSTAD
I'm sorry, she's not speaking with- (pause; to Mary)
It's Heyward.
100.
SMITH
If he tries to put someone else on the phone with you, hang up.
(off their looks)
Corporate policy, he has to have a witness on the line if he's going to fire you.
MARY
Thanks for the pep talk. (taking the phone)
Andrew?
INTERCUT:
ANDREW HEYWARD
Mary, we've hired a private detective to go back over everything. I want you to turn over your notes, your emails, everything.
MARY
I was thinking, if we could track down the actual typewriter-
ANDREW HEYWARD
Stop working on the story.
He hangs up. Mary puts the phone back. Looks to the others.
MARY
All work official on the Bush-Guard story has ceased. I can't imagine why.
Robert stands by the front window, looking out at the lawn.
SMITH
What are you looking at, buddy?
ROBERT
The big van.
Mary moves to the window. A NEWS VAN setting on Mary's lawn. Guys run cable into the street. MEN WITH CAMERAS.
ROBERT (CONT'D)
Are they friends of yours?
Mary watches the reporters for a bit.
101.
MARY
No.
CUT TO:
EXT. MANHATTAN STREET -- DAY
NEWSCASTER (O.S.)
...Rather's apology has not quieted conservative bloggers who are now calling for criminal charges. As CBS officially begins it's Review Panel today...
INT. 60 MINUTES -- BULLPEN -- DAY
Mary Murphy looks up as Smith walks past.
MARY MURPHY
What are you doing here?
SMITH
I left my wallet in a cab, I'm supposed to be over at Black Rock for the panel this morning-
MARY MURPHY
You can't be here.
SMITH
Excuse me?
He sees Josh coming down the hallway towards him.
JOSH
You're not allowed in the building.
SMITH
I'm not allowed in the building according to who?
JOSH
Management. You have to go now.
Josh gestures to the door. Smith stares at both of them.
SMITH
Do you even understand what's happening right now?
102.
JOSH (picking up a phone)
I understand that you're leaving.
SMITH
Right now Viacom is lobbying a Republican controlled Congress for deregulation and tax breaks that would save the company hundreds of millions of dollars - and we just aired a report that could cost Republicans the Presidency!
JOSH (into the phone)
Security to the 9th floor now please?
SMITH
You don't think Viacom needs the Administration on their side? You don't think they're desperate to make it up to them right now? Make up for CBS running stories on Abu Ghraib and the President and Vietnam and all the shit that isn't part of
their regularly scheduled programming? Everyone wants this to disappear!
(disgusted)
There's a fucking election at stake! We're supposed to question everything and you won't even question this!
People's heads poke out of their offices at the yelling.
JOSH
Are you done?
SMITH
You know when the FCC repealed cross ownership laws a single company was allowed to own forty-five percent of the National Market Share? Forty- five percent. People fucking flipped. They actually wrote their congressmen. So in the 2003 Appropriations Bill, Congress overturned it. Hooray for democracy, right?
A crowd has now gathered around this ranting former employee.
103.
SMITH (CONT'D)
Except the President wouldn't sign it. Bush threatened to veto the entire bill unless a compromise was found at thirty-nine percent and why? Because at that exact percentage, both Viacom and Newscorp wouldn't have to sell off any
stations. The President of the United States was ready to take down the entire federal budget so that Viacom wouldn't lose money!
Silence. The staffers look to Josh.
JOSH
You're right. We're all evil and you're the plucky misunderstood hero. It wasn't that you guys fucked up a story - it's the conspiracy, right?
Smith, about to retort when TWO LARGE SECURITY GUARDS appear and walk him to the elevator. Smith gets on. Looks at Josh.
SMITH
They're gonna screw you too, you know.
The doors close between them.
EXT. BLACK ROCK -- NEW YORK CITY -- DAY
Black Rock - CBS Corporate Headquarters. Establishing. The monolithic black tower at West 52nd and Sixth.
INT. BLACK ROCK -- CORRIDOR -- DAY
Smith sits across from Dan and SEVERAL LAWYERS. Like kids about to be called into the Principal's office. Silence.
SMITH
I never asked you why you got into journalism.
Dan thinks about it for a bit.
DAN
Curiosity.
104.
SMITH
That's it?
DAN That's everything.
(smiles)
Why did you get into it?
Smith looks at him.
SMITH
You.
On Dan as this lands. The door opens and LAWYER approaches.
LAWYER
The panel is ready for you, Mr.
Rather.
Dan smiles at Smith and rises. Walks inside.
INT. DINER -- AFTERNOON
Mary sits alone in a booth. Pops a Xanax. Watching a woman in the BAKERY SECTION decorate a cake. Fascinated by it.
MARY
That's amazing. How do you get the icing to do that, with the piping?
WOMAN
It's no big thing.
MARY
Yeah, it is. It's beautiful.
Interrupted as Smith slides into the booth across from her.
SMITH
They asked if you bullied staff or sources. If you tried to physically intimidate people into doing what you wanted.
MARY
And I hope you told them I regularly beat the shit out of you-
SMITH
This isn't a joke, Mary! (MORE)
105.
SMITH (CONT'D)
(pause)
They asked about your politics.
She stares at him.
SMITH (CONT'D) Deck's stacked. Game's rigged.
(shakes his head)
Between them and talk radio and your father, it's a fucking lynching...
MARY
What about my father?
Smith blinks. Said something he shouldn't have.
SMITH
It's nothing, forget it-
MARY
What about my father, Mike?
So loud that heads turn. The cake lady frowns.
SMITH
(softly)
I thought you knew.
INT. MARY'S KITCHEN -- AFTERNOON
Mary stands with Wrolstad. A NEWSCAST on TV. Replaying a radio station CALL IN SHOW. Mary Mapes' Father Calls In!
Voices from the TV. One of them belongs to DON MAPES.
DON MAPES (O.S.)
I'm ashamed of what my daughter has become.
Mary shakes like a child at the sound of his voice...
RADIO HOST (O.S.)
You are?
DON MAPES (O.S.) She's a typical liberal. She went
into journalism with an axe to grind and that was to promote radical feminism.
106.
Like each word is a slap...
RADIO HOST (O.S.)
So this is a pattern of hers?
DON MAPES (O.S.)
Oh, sure. When I heard this was a 60 Minutes story, I figured she would be the producer of the show. She and Dan Rather have been working on this ever since Bush was elected. She should be really be looking at George Soros or Michael Moore-
Mary can't take it anymore - she stabs at the television to turn it off. Walks from the room without a word. Broken.
INT. MARY'S KITCHEN -- AFTERNOON
Wrolstad pulls an address book from a cluttered drawer. Dials the cordless phone. Walks into the
EXT. MAPES BACK YARD -- AFTERNOON
As it rings. Pacing tightly. The phone is answered.
DON MAPES (O.S.)
Hello?
WROLSTAD
You can't talk to the press anymore,
Don.
DON MAPES (O.S.)
Who is this?
WROLSTAD
You know who. For once in your life, be decent.
A beat.
DON MAPES (O.S.)
I'm expressing my opinion. I thought you reporters were all about that-
WROLSTAD
Don, if you don't stop talking to the press, I'm going to fly up there and break your fucking arms.
107.
MARY (O.S.)
Is that him?
Wrolstad turns to see Mary standing by the back door. He doesn't know whether to tell her or not.
MARY (CONT'D)
Let me talk to him.
She extends her hand for the phone. Wrolstad gives it to her. We think she's going to lay into him, but instead:
MARY (CONT'D)
(softly)
Daddy, please, stop.
A beat. An exhale of breath from the other end.
DON MAPES
Well since you asked, I will.
CLICK. He's hung up. Mary swallows. Tosses the phone on the lawn and goes back inside. Done.
INT. MARY'S BEDROOM -- AFTERNOON
Mary lies in what almost looks like a catatonic state. No lights on, just the fading sun coming through the slats in the shutters. Wrolstad steps quietly into the room.
MARY
I can't anymore.
WROLSTAD
You can.
MARY
I don't want to. They can have my career. I don't care.
(deep breath)
I never should have asked the question...
Wrolstad looks at her. He knows that's not true.
WROLSTAD
So they're right and you're wrong?
MARY
Guess so.
108.
WROLSTAD
And Dan?
She looks up at him.
MARY
That's not fair.
WROLSTAD
"It's a shame what that woman did to Dan Rather." That's what they're saying on cable.
MARY
(softly) Don't...
WROLSTAD
How's he's going to go down a disgrace. And Robert will get to see you quit, that'll be good for him.
MARY
Fuck you...
He puts his hand on her brow.
WROLSTAD
You have to make your case to the
Panel. You have to fight.
MARY
Even if the system is rigged?
WROLSTAD
The system is rigged. Always has been. But you still have to tell them what happened.
Mary stares at him.
MARY
Why?
Wrolstad smiles at his wife - isn't it obvious?
WROLSTAD
Because that's what we do.
109.
And he strokes her brow as she looks at him and then we
CUT TO:
KNITTING NEEDLES clicking softly together, as they make loops of yarn. A clock on the wall ticks. We're back in
INT. WINSTON AND STRAWN -- LAW FIRM LOBBY -- DAY
Mary sits as she has before. Exhausted. As the Receptionist
looks up to tell her that Mr. Hibey will see her now...
MARY (O.S.)
So. Do you believe me?
INT. HIBEY'S OFFICE -- DAY
Mary sits across from the lawyer. Tale told. Hibey blinks.
MARY
Do you believe I did my job?
HIBEY
I told you, it doesn't matter what I believe-
MARY
It does to me.
HIBEY
If you'd like someone else to represent you in this, I understand.
He looks to the door. She doesn't move.
MARY
Tell me why I shouldn't.
Hibey leans back in his chair.
HIBEY
What do you want out of this?
MARY
Excuse me?
HIBEY
Do you want to get into a debate about journalism with them or do you want to keep your job?
110.
MARY
I can't do both?
HIBEY
Not at this point, no. (pause)
You're the primary breadwinner, is that correct?
MARY
Yes.
HIBEY
And your son is seven?
Mary stares at him.
HIBEY (CONT'D)
This isn't a trial, this is a hunt. This is about assignation of blame - who is at fault, because somebody has to be. Debate that with them and you're done.
Mary looks at him. The needles have stopped.
HIBEY (CONT'D) You have one chance here.
Among all the conservative lawyers on the panel, there is one former journalist. One man who can maybe understand what happened. You convince him... maybe he can turn the rest of them.
(pause)
But if you antagonize them, if you bait them, if you fight them - you will lose.
Mary looks up at him.
MARY
You're hired.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- MORNING
Mary going through her notes with Hibey's assistants.
111.
HIBEY (V.O.)
You're going to cooperate in every way, follow every request and instruction.
EXT. BLACK ROCK -- NEW YORK CITY -- MORNING
Mary and Hibey exit a taxi in front of the large and imposing monolithically black CBS Corporate Headquarters Building.
HIBEY (V.O.)
There is no standard here. No books full of journalistic laws, no written codes.
INT. BLACK ROCK -- CORRIDORS -- MORNING
Secretaries crane their necks to catch a glance of Mary and Hibey as they walk past. The walls plastered with posters from CBS shows. Lucy and Desi. MASH. And Dan Rather.
HIBEY (V.O.)
There's just opinion...
INT. BLACK ROCK -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
HIBEY (V.O.)
And we have to sway it.
Mary and Hibey, taking their seats on one side of the conference table. On the other is THE PANEL. Hibey nods to the older man in the back of the room.
HIBEY (CONT'D) (whispering to Mary)
That's Thornburgh.
MARY
Where's the journalist?
Hibey points to the bespectacled gentlemen to the side. One of the lawyers in the front speaks.
LARRY LANPHER
Ms. Mapes, thank you for coming in. I'm Larry Lanpher. I'm Lead Council along with Mike Missal here.
MIKE MISSAL
A pleasure.
112.
Hibey looks around the room.
HIBEY
I notice there's no stenographer.
MIKE MISSAL
This is an internal investigation. We're just going to take some notes as we go.
He nods to two women with notebooks and pens.
HIBEY
So there will be no official record?
Lanpher ignores the question with a smile.
LARRY LANPHER
Would you like to take a bathroom break before we begin?
MARY
I'm fine.
LARRY LANPHER
You're sure?
Mary smiles back.
MARY
I'm not that delicate.
HIBEY
I'd like one.
LARRY LANPHER
Okay. Start in ten minutes everyone?
INT. SIDE ROOM -- DAY
Hibey pulls Mary into a small room off the conference room.
HIBEY
I need you to stay calm.
MARY
Don't I look calm?
113.
HIBEY
Not even a little. They're going to try and catch you off balance. When they ask a question, answer it.
Tell them what time it is, don't tell them how to build a clock.
MARY
But-
HIBEY
Don't fight.
He holds her gaze. She nods. They head back in.
INT. BLACK ROCK -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- AFTERNOON
Missal slides a stack of papers across the table.
MIKE MISSAL
I'd like to talk a little about language.
MARY
Absolutely.
MIKE MISSAL
These are the printouts of emails sent back and forth by your group during the investigation.
Hibey pages through them.
MIKE MISSAL (CONT'D) In this one to Mike Smith, what did
the two of you mean when you discussed a piece of "tasty brisket"?
MARY
That referred to a piece of information Mike uncovered working on a documentary for the Germans.
MIKE MISSAL
A piece of information against the
President.
MARY
I think specifically it referred to
Bush losing his nerve while flying.
114.
MIKE MISSAL
Which was not mentioned in the report you aired on 60 Minutes.
MARY
I didn't think we had it nailed down.
MIKE MISSAL
So, is it accurate to say that you were looking for anything negative about the President?
Hibey looks over to Mary. Careful here...
MARY
I would say it's accurate that we were looking for any information about his time in the Air National Guard that had not yet come to light.
MIKE MISSAL
And that's why it's "tasty"? Not because it reflected poorly on the President?
MARY
It was tasty because it had the potential to be newsworthy. Mike
and I are friends, we use a shorthand. Sarcasm, jokes.
LARRY LANPHER
Is that common in your industry?
MARY
I suppose.
LARRY LANPHER
When dealing with matters as serious as this, it's common to make jokes?
MARY
I can assure you, we take our work very seriously.
MIKE MISSAL
I also wanted to ask you about this email from Roger Charles where he says he "feels better" about the
(MORE)
115.
MIKE MISSAL (CONT'D) documents because of their formatting. Colonel Charles originally thought the documents were fake?
Mary blinks.
MARY
I don't believe so.
MIKE MISSAL
Then why would he say here that he "feels better"?
MARY
Because it seemed that what our source was telling us was true.
LARRY LANPHER
I have to disagree. Even the subject line of the email is "I feel better" with three exclamation points. It seems that Colonel Charles initially had doubts.
MARY
You would have to ask Colonel Charles.
Hibey nods. Good answer. But Mary continues:
MARY (CONT'D)
But also, I'd say he was coming from a place of not being sure whether the memos were real or not and then becoming confident that they were.
LARRY LANPHER
Really?
(smiles)
You'll forgive me for saying, but your testimony so far doesn't bear that out.
HIBEY (sensing danger)
This isn't testimony, remember?
116.
LARRY LANPHER
If it was impossible to authenticate the memos, doesn't it stand to reason that you initially assumed that the memos were real rather than the other way around?
MARY
I wouldn't say that.
LARRY LANPHER
Well, what would you say?
Mary stares at him.
LARRY LANPHER (CONT'D) It seems to me you assumed these memos were real from the outset, and you looked to make sure that nothing disproved that. Essentially, you took the position that the President was guilty until proven innocent.
On Hibey. Shit.
MARY
We took several steps to vet these memos.
LARRY LANPHER
Such as?
There's only two signatures, and two sets of initials - hardly enough comparison for a handwriting match. You said yourself no ink or carbon tests could be performed, in fact two of the four analysts you hired
have said they had strong reservations about the memos authenticity.
MARY
Much of the formatting and terminology used is consistent with the period-
LARRY LANPHER
That's debatable-
117.
MARY (insisting)
Is consistent with the period, as is the content of the memos, which was verified by several different sources who knew Colonel Killian-
LARRY LANPHER Then what about this?
(reading a memo) "O.E.T.R." Is this one of the
terminologies that was "consistent with the period"?
MARY
I believe so.
LARRY LANPHER
What's it stand for?
MARY
"Officer Effectiveness Training
Report."
LARRY LANPHER Actually, the correct acronym is O.E.R. - "Officer Effectiveness Report". No T.
(pause)
Isn't it true, Mary, that the phrase "Officer Effectiveness Training Report" doesn't actually appear anywhere on any official documents? That this phrase is something you created to explain this incorrect abbreviation in your memos?
Hibey stares at Mary, stricken. Checkmate.
MARY
That's not true.
LARRY LANPHER
It isn't?
MARY
I wouldn't do something like that.
LARRY LANPHER
Then prove it.
118.
A beat. All eyes on Mary. She opens up her binder and withdraws a piece of paper. Slides it across the table.
MARY
Official document. Top of the page.
Lanpher looks. The others around him do too. The top of the page reads - Officer Effectiveness Training Report. A beat. Mary looks at Lanpher, pleasantly. Waiting.
LARRY LANPHER
Oh. I see that. Sorry, my mistake.
Hibey beams.
INT. BLACK ROCK -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- NIGHT
Mary and Hibey watch as the panel files out. BOCCARDI, the journalist, smiles at them as he goes.
HIBEY
Clearly you did well. They'll regroup and call you back in next month.
MARY
Next month?
HIBEY
They've decided to delay announcing the Panel's findings till after the election.
Mary stops in her tracks.
HIBEY (CONT'D)
Don't look so glum. Keep your head down and you'll make it out of this.
EXT. MARY'S HOUSE -- NIGHT
Wrolstad stands on a step ladder, putting up Christmas lights. Several other houses twinkle. A chill in the air.
PRESIDENT BUSH (V.O.) I want to thank you all for your hard work in the campaign...
119.
INT. MARY'S KITCHEN -- NIGHT
Mary wrapping a VIDEO CAMERA for Robert for Christmas. ON TV - President Bush doing a PRESS BRIEFING.
PRESIDENT BUSH
I told you that the other day, and you probably thought I was just seeking votes. But now that you voted, I really meant it.
LAUGHTER from the press corps.
PRESIDENT BUSH (CONT'D) I appreciate the hard work of the press corps. We all put in long hours, and you're away from your families for a long period of time. But the country is better off when we have a vigorous and free press covering our elections. Without over-pandering, I'll answer a few questions. Hunt?
Over more laughter reporter TERENCE HUNT speaks.
TERENCE HUNT
Mr. President, thank you. As you look at your second term, how much is the war in Iraq going to cost? Do you intend to send more troops, or bring troops home? And in the Middle East, more broadly, do you agree with Tony Blair that revitalizing the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political issue facing the world?
PRESIDENT BUSH
Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions.
More laughter. They love this guy. The phone rings and Mary mutes the TV to answer it.
MARY
Hello?
120.
INT./EXT. DAN'S NEW YORK APARTMENT -- NIGHT
Dan, holding a glass of scotch. Tie loosened, jacket off. The door to his balcony is open.
DAN
Mary, it's Dan plus three.
INT. MARY'S KITCHEN -- NIGHT
Mary smiles.
MARY
I'm working on a chardonnay Xanax cocktail if it makes you feel any better. How are you?
EXT. DAN'S APARTMENT -- BALCONY -- NIGHT
Dan takes a swallow of scotch and steps out to the balcony. INTERCUT:
DAN
Did you know that 60 Minutes was the first news program to ever make money? Before that, all news divisions operated at a financial loss.
He looks out at the city.
DAN (CONT'D)
When the government gave networks the airwaves, it was with the stipulation that they would be used in some capacity for the public good. And that was the news. They made
their money elsewhere on the schedule. But reporting the news was a duty.
A public trust.
Mary doesn't say anything.
DAN (CONT'D)
When Hewitt started 60 Minutes in 1968, it built to enormous ratings. It was wonderful. People were really watching news. Caring. And we figured out a way to give it to them.
(MORE)
121.
DAN (CONT'D)
(sips)
I was there, Mary. I was there the day they figured out news could make money.
The traffic below him is honking. He doesn't seem to notice.
DAN (CONT'D)
After a while it dawned on them; how come the Evening News isn't a profit center too? Why aren't the morning shows earning more? If you interview Survivor contestants instead of survivors of genocide, your ad rates go up. Pretty soon we won't even run down our own stories cause it's
too expensive. We'll just pay someone else to do it, then read them on the air for show.
(pause)
It was a public trust once. I swear to you it was.
Very softly, Mary asks him again.
MARY
How are you doing, Dan?
Dan drains the rest of the scotch and examines his glass.
DAN
I'm stepping down as anchor.
In her kitchen, Mary stands very still.
MARY
When?
DAN
After Inauguration.
MARY
Oh, Dan...
DAN
You didn't cause this, Mary.
MARY
You're a shitty liar, you know that? (MORE)
122.
MARY (CONT'D) (tears in her eyes)
Why didn't you ask me? Everyone else asked after the shit hit the fan, why didn't you?
DAN
Ask you what?
MARY
Why didn't you ask me if the documents were real?
DAN
Because I knew I didn't need to.
Mary is silent.
DAN (CONT'D)
When you go back in there, you hold your head up, understand?
Mary smiles through the tears.
MARY
Yes, Dad.
A beat. Dan puts down his glass. Smiles.
DAN
F.E.A.
INT. BLACK ROCK -- SIDE ROOM -- AFTERNOON
Thunder and lightning outside. Late in the day. Dinner break. Mary watches Panel members through the open door.
HIBEY
You're doing great. Another half hour and we're done.
Mary nods, her mind anywhere but here. Like she's deciding something. Doodling absently on a legal pad. "FEA". Hibey looks at the letters on the page.
HIBEY (CONT'D)
What does that mean?
She looks up at him.
123.
MARY
Fuck 'em all.
INT. BLACK ROCK -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- AFTERNOON
Mary and Hibey sit across from the panel. One more time. Rain streaks the windows. Things are wrapping up.
MIKE MISSAL
...Well, I'm glad we have clarification on that.
HIBEY
Good. If there's nothing else?
Missal and the others move to rise. Mary keeps her seat.
MARY
Aren't you going to ask about my politics?
Missal blinks. Hibey shoots her a warning look.
LARRY LANPHER
Excuse me?
MARY
You've asked other people what I believe. Aren't you going to ask me?
HIBEY (hissing to Mary)
What are you doing?
The journalist, LOU BOCCARDI, finally speaks.
LOU BOCCARDI
Well, wouldn't you say most people you work with think you're a liberal?
MARY
Do you mean, "Am I now, or have I ever been a liberal"?
A number of the panel shifts in their seats uncomfortably.
LARRY LANPHER
It's a legitimate question.
124.
MARY
Is it?
MIKE MISSAL
You brought it up.
MARY
No, you did when you asked all my co- workers. So I'll tell you. I don't believe in labels. I think most people have a mixture of views-
LARRY LANPHER
That's not what we're talking about.
MARY
Then what are you talking about,
Larry?
LARRY LANPHER
We're talking about you bringing your politics into your reporting.
MARY
I did nothing of the kind.
LARRY LANPHER
Really? Nothing? Is that why when Barnes said he got Bush into the Guard, you believed him without question? That when Bill Burkett, an outspoken Bush critic and admitted liar brought you memos, you assumed their authenticity and didn't bother to source them? That when not one but two of your four document examiners expressed doubts the memos were real, you pushed them aside and rushed the story on air? And why you personally contacted John Kerry's campaign on behalf of a man who had dedicated himself to smearing the President?
(staring at her)
Tell me, Mary, where exactly does politics not enter into any of this? Or are you just that bad at your job?
A beat. Lanpher's breathing hard. The others stare at him.
125.
MARY
Do you know what it would take to fake these memos?
HIBEY
Mary-
MARY
No, this is important. It would require the forger to have an in depth knowledge of the 1971 Air Force manual, including rules, regulations, and abbreviations. He would have to know Bush's official record backwards and forwards to make sure that none of these memos conflicted with it. He would have to know all the players in the Texas Air National Guard at the time - not just their names but
their attitudes and opinions including how they related to one another. He would have to know that Colonel Killian kept personal memos for himself like this in the first place. He would have to know how Killian felt at the time, particularly about his superiors and then first Lieutenant Bush. He would have to know or learn all of this in order
to fool us as you assume he did. (leaning forward)
Now. Do you really think a man who takes that kind of time and precision then goes and types these up on Microsoft Word?
Silence. The men stare at her. Nobody has a response to that. Thunder in the distance.
MARY (CONT'D)
Our story was about whether Bush fulfilled his service. But nobody wants to talk about that. They want to talk about fonts and forgery and conspiracy theories. Because that's what people do if they don't like a story these days. They point and scream.
(MORE)
126.
MARY (CONT'D)
They question your politics, your objectivity - hell, your basic humanity - and then they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum.
(shaking her head)
And when it's finally over, they've kicked and shouted so loud we don't even remember what the point was.
Rain continues to fall. And then from the back of the room
DICK THORNBURGH
But you didn't prove it.
They all turn to him. The old man finally speaks.
DICK THORNBURGH (CONT'D) You didn't prove Ben Barnes got the President into the Guard. You didn't prove the memos are real. The burden of proof is on you.
MARY
By that standard the Times would never have run the Pentagon Papers, the Post would never have listened to Deep Throat-
DICK THORNBURGH
Ben Barnes is hardly Deep Throat-
MARY
Ben Barnes has confessed to abusing his power to keep some of the richest and most privileged sons of Texas from getting their asses blown up in Vietnam!
DICK THORNBURGH
Ms. Mapes, don't you think that it's possible, just possible, that some of those fine young men got into the National Guard on their own merit?
Mary blinks. A beat. And then she answers truthfully.
MARY
No, sir. No, I do not.
127.
Thornburgh nods. A beat. He's heard what he came to hear.
EXT. BLACK ROCK -- EVENING
The rain has grown to a downpour. Mary and Hibey step out the door. Pausing at the edge of the deluge.
HIBEY
Had to do it, didn't you?
MARY
In the immortal words of Popeye - "I am what I am".
HIBEY
I would've gone with "To thine own self be true" but Popeye works.
(pause)
They'll have their findings in a few weeks. I'll call you when I hear.
She extends a hand. They shake. Then she turns, heading off down the street.
HIBEY (CONT'D)
Hey, Mary?
Mary turns back. Standing there in the rain.
HIBEY (CONT'D)
I believe you.
FADE TO:
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- LIVING ROOM/FRONT HALL -- DAY
Mary sits with Robert, playing with his video camera. The phone in the other room rings. Mary gets up to answer it.
MARY
Hello?
ANDREW HEYWARD (O.S.) Mary, the report is out and it's very bad. I'm going to put Jonathan Anschultz on the line.
Mary's shoulders slump.
128.
ANDREW HEYWARD (O.S.) (CONT'D)
Jon, can you hear me?
VOICE (O.S.)
Yeah.
ANDREW HEYWARD
Mary, as I said, the report is bad.
You're being terminated.
Mary closes her eyes as Heyward keeps speaking. She's not even listening. As we begin cutting around to see the others losing their jobs...
INT. BETSY WEST'S OFFICE -- EVENING
Betsy at her desk. She throws the phone across the room...
INT. HEYWARD'S OFFICE -- NIGHT
Mary Murphy crying as she is being let go...
INT. JOSH HOWARD'S OFFICE -- EVENING
Half of the office in boxes. Josh carefully taking down the
row of Emmys from the shelf behind his desk...
INT. S.M.U. CLASSROOM -- DAY
Lucy, returning to her classroom to find her students waiting, smiling. They've strung up a banner that says "SO, YOU GOT FIRED." Lucy laughs as they rise and applaud her...
INT. CBS NEWS -- DALLAS BUREAU -- LOBBY -- SUNSET
Mike Smith, carrying his box of stuff down the stairs and
out the front door...
EXT. CBS NEWS -- DALLAS BUREAU -- SUNSET
Smith carrying a box of stuff to his truck. Someone standing next to it. Waiting. Colonel Charles. Smith smiles.
COLONEL CHARLES
Hippie scum.
SMITH
Jarhead fuck.
Colonel Charles offers his hand.
129.
COLONEL CHARLES
You ever need a reference...
SMITH
I can tell them how we destroyed modern journalism together?
The Colonel laughs. They shake.
COLONEL CHARLES
I'll see you.
He turns and walks off into the dying sun...
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- KITCHEN -- EVENING
Sundown. Mary and Wrolstad sit on their couch. Wine uncorked on the table. And the CBS Evening News on TV.
DAN
We have shared a lot in the 24 years we've been meeting here each evening. And before I say good night, this night, I need to say thank you.
Wrolstad takes Mary's hand...
INT. CBS EVENING NEWS -- BROADCAST STUDIO -- EVENING
Hundreds have turned out to watch Dan's final broadcast.
DAN
Thank you to the thousands of wonderful professionals at CBS News, past and present, with whom it has been my honor to work, over these years. And a deeply-felt thanks to all of you who have let us into your homes, night after night. It has been a privilege, and one never taken lightly.
INTERCUT with Mary and Wrolstad watching...
DAN (CONT'D)
To a nation still nursing a broken heart for what happened here in 2001 and especially those who found themselves closest to the events of
(MORE)
130.
DAN (CONT'D) September 11th. To our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines in
dangerous places. To those who have endured the tsunami and to all who have suffered natural disasters and who must find the will to rebuild. To the oppressed and to those whose lot it is to struggle, in financial hardship or in failing health, to my fellow journalists in places where reporting the truth means risking all, and to each of you...
(smiles)
Courage.
Mary takes a breath. Tears in her eyes.
DAN (CONT'D)
For the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather reporting. Goodnight.
The screen fades to black.
IN THE STUDIO
Dan rises to thunderous applause. Smiling at the people there. A little teary eyed himself. Champagne is popped.
Among those clapping, Heyward. Dan catches his eye. Heyward smiles. Dan turns away from him and begins a conversation. Heyward's smile falters just a bit. But he keeps applauding.
Dan turns and walks away from camera. Leaving us. Leaving the stage.
As he goes, these words appear:
The Independent Panel Report found no political bias in the reporting of the Guard Story. Josh Howard, Mary Murphy, and Betsy West were asked to resign.
Mary Mapes was fired.
10 days later, President George W. Bush was inaugurated for a Second Term.
These words fade. Replaced by:
131.
Dan Rather left CBS and sued, claiming the network caved to political pressure to placate the White House. The suit was dismissed by the New York Court of Appeals.
INT. MARY'S HOUSE -- KITCHEN -- EVENING
As commercials and "coming up next" ads play on the television, Mary stares at the image. Then slowly picks up the remote and clicks it off. Silence save for crickets.
Mary takes another tissue and blows her nose. Laughing at the amount of tears. Looks to her husband.
MARY
You want to take a walk?
Wrolstad grins and bounds to his feet. He takes her hand and leads her out the door. And we get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, they'll be okay.
We hold on the door and slowly pan back to the television. Sitting there, mercifully silent.
As we PUSH IN, these words appear on screen...
Following Mary Mapes' firing, CBS News won a Peabody Award for her story on Abu Ghraib.
It is considered one of the most important pieces of journalism of the decade.
Mary Mapes has not worked in television news since 2004.
ROLL CREDITS
FADE OUT

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