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Why CBS Is Refusing To Show Commercials For A New Movie

It turns out that CBS isn't too happy about director James Vanderbilt's new movie Truth - which centers on the Dan Rather-delivered and discredited 2004 news story about George W. Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. And while the network can't do anything to directly halt the film's time in theaters, they are getting back at the production by refusing the run any advertisements for it.

The Associated Press has the full story on this development, reporting that CBS has denounced the movie and will do nothing to promote that Truth is currently out in theaters. The main gripe with the film is that the network believes that it doesn't do a fair job presenting the facts in the true-life story, and that it doesn't accurately portray what really went on behind the scenes of the mid-'00s event. In an official statement, Gil Schwartz, the chief spokesman for CBS Corp. and portrayed by actor Steve Bastoni in the movie, said,

It's astounding how little truth there is in Truth. There are, in fact, too many distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all. The film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom. That's a disservice not just to the public but to journalists across the world who go out every day and do everything within their power, sometimes at great risk to themselves, to get the story right.

Because of the content of the movie, you'd think that the marketing team behind Truth would have tried to steer clear of CBS for of ad sales, but apparently that didn't actually happen. Instead, the AP says that Sony Pictures Classics tried to make a "multi-million dollar ad buy" that would have had TV spots playing during shows like The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and 60 Minutes. Obviously that deal didn't work out, and Sony instead turned to ABC, NBC, Fox and various cable networks.

In Truth, Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett star as Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes, respectively. Together, they reported a story suggesting that George W. Bush was able to avoid being drafted into Vietnam because of his father's political power - but ultimately found themselves in hot water when their source was called into question. Mapes and three other producers were eventually fired, and Rather wound up retiring and unsuccessfully attempting to try and sue CBS. As you can tell, the network isn't too happy about the idea that the film paints both Rather and Maples in a positive light.

Truth was put into limited release this past weekend - hitting only six theaters nationwide - and has thus far made $76,646. Exactly how many theaters it will eventually show up in appears to be unclear at this time.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.