SCRIPT: Mary Mapes, CBS News Producer, Speaks Out

We're going to turn next to the woman whose investigative reporting on President Bush backfired and ignited a scandal at CBS News that wound up involving anchorman Dan Rather. Former CBS News producer Mary Mapes tells her side of the story in a new book out called, "Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power."

BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS

CBS fired Mary Mapes earlier this year, and she's not been heard from until now. She is unrepentant and defiant, refusing to accept membership in the journalism hall of shame.

MARY MAPES, "TRUTH AND DUTY"

I loved that job, loved it wildly, and suddenly there were pictures of me on the internet. They were saying mean things about me, saying that I was an angry, man-hating femi-Nazi. I had people driving by my house and taking pictures. I have a little boy, seven years old, and...

BRIAN ROSS

What did you tell him?

MARY MAPES

I didn't tell him much.

BRIAN ROSS

Mary Mapes was the woman behind the scenes, the producer who researched, wrote and put together Dan Rather's "60 Minutes" report on President Bush's National Guard service, a report which Rather and CBS would later apologize for airing.

MARY MAPES

Friendships were destroyed, trust was abandoned, and it was a very, very dark time. It was a very dark time. I mean, it was like having a, a little mini witch-hunt within a corporation.

BRIAN ROSS

And at the heart of that was Mary Mapes.

MARY MAPES

Yes. Yes. That's true. I know.

BRIAN ROSS

In the 10 months since she was fired, Mapes has been working on a book titled, "Truth and Duty," her answer to her enemies in politics, critics in the media and one-time colleagues at CBS News.

BRIAN ROSS

You're seen by many as the person who brought down Dan Rather and CBS News.

MARY MAPES

Oh, probably. I think that's an unfair characterization. I think I'm somebody who got fired for trying to do their job in a difficult atmosphere.

BRIAN ROSS

Nothing to do with bad journalism.

MARY MAPES

I, I don't think I committed bad journalism. I really don't. I don't think I've done a good job for 25 years, woke up on the morning of September 8th and decided to commit professional hari-kari.

BRIAN ROSS

At the heart of the controversy were documents CBS said came from the files of President Bush's then National Guard commanding officer.

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS

Now, news about CBS News and the questions...

BRIAN ROSS

After 12 days of defending them, CBS and Dan Rather later admitted they could not vouch for the authenticity of the documents and that they should not have been used, and the story should not have aired.

BRIAN ROSS

Do you still think that story was true?

MARY MAPES

The story? Absolutely.

BRIAN ROSS

This seems remarkable to me that you would sit here now and say you still find that story to be up to your standards.

MARY MAPES

I'm perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there's proof that I haven't seen.

BRIAN ROSS

But isn't it the other way around? Don't you have to prove they're authentic?

MARY MAPES

Well, I think that's what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then, and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false yet.

BRIAN ROSS

Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn't that really what journalists do?

MARY MAPES

No, I don't think that's the standard.

BRIAN ROSS

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