Mike Smith: Hey, I never got to ask you. Why did you get into journalism?
Dan Rather: Curiosity.
Mike Smith: That's it?
Dan Rather: That's everything. Why did you get into?
Mike Smith: You.
Mary Mapes: Do you know what it would take to fake these memos?
Dick Hibey: Mary...
Mary Mapes: No, this is important. It would require the forger to have an in-depth knowledge of the 1971 Air Force manual, including rules and regulations and abbreviations. He would have to know Bush's official record front to back to make sure none of these memos conflicted with it. He would have to know all of the players in the Texas Air National Guard at the time, not just their names, but their attitudes, their opinions including how they related to one another. He would have to know that Colonel Killian kept personal memos like this for himself 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. Now... Do you really think that a man who takes this kind of time and precision, then goes and types these up on Microsoft Word?
Mary Mapes: Our story was about whether Bush fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They wanna talk about fonts and forgeries and conspiracy theories, because that's what people do these days if they don't like a story. They point and scream. They question your politics, your objectivity, hell, your basic humanity. And they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum. And when it is finally over and they have kicked and shouted so loud, we can't even remember what the point was.
Mary Mapes: How you're doing, Dan?
Dan Rather: I'm stepping down as anchor.
Mary Mapes: When?
Dan Rather: After inauguration.
Mary Mapes: Oh Dan...
Dan Rather: You didn't cause this, Mary.
Mary Mapes: Well, you're a shitty liar, you know that? Why didn't you ask me? Cos God knows everbody else did when the shit hit the fan. Why didn't you?
Dan Rather: Ask you what?
Mary Mapes: Why didn't you ask me if the documents were real?
Dan Rather: Because I know I didn't need to.
Josh Howard: And you're the... You're the... plucky, misunderstood hero. It's not that you guys fucked up a story.
Dan Rather: So political considerations were a major force in the Guard?
Robert Strong: [Chuckles] It verged on outright corruption the favors that were done, the power that was traded. From a moral and ethical standpoint, it was unconscionable.