Actor Robert Redford drew a parallel on Monday between the journalist he played in the classic All The President’s Men with former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who he portrays in his latest film, Truth.
“With [Bob] Woodward and [Carl] Bernstein, they were going after the truth. They were digging in to get to the truth against the odds of an administration that did not want that revealed. But they had the support of their bosses. They had Kay Graham and they had Ben Bradlee. They had support,” Redford told MSNBC host Chris Matthews. “On this situation, you had Rather and Mary Mapes trying to do the very same thing but in the end they did not have the support of their bosses because if you look at the picture, then you get into that whole thing about the conjunction between corporations, media, and journalism.”
The film chronicles Rather’s September 2004 reporting on then-President George W. Bush’s failure to report for duty while serving in the Texas National Guard.
The controversy that followed resulted in Mapes, a CBS News producer at the time, and three other producers being fired. Rather retired in March 2005. The film’s screenplay was adapted from Mapes’ book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power.
“If I mimicked him, that would be a character of him and that would be terrible,” Redford said of playing the anchor. “On the other hand, how to get the essence of a guy, he’s very polite, he has a genuine compassionate exterior but what I found out sat underneath that was a tremendous wolf desire to get to the truth.”
The actor also expressed relief that he was not involved “in the stew” of the current political landscape.
“It feels like Looney Tunes and Not-So-Merry Melodies,” he said to Matthews. “For me it’s kind of depressing in terms of what we could be hearing but aren’t.”
Watch Matthews’ interview with Redford, as aired on Monday, below.