Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rather Island

I meant to get to this on my award-deserving [*AHEM*] Blog Talk Radio show last Saturday, but I clean forgot about it in my overtime segment. It probably doesn't matter much, since my portable phone usually starts crapping out at the ninety minute mark anyway.

Oh, I'm sorry, you have only the vaguest notion of what I'm talking about, right? Well, not so vague, really, if you have rudimentary title intuition.
Rather’s former colleagues at CBS have something to say.

Take, for example, Don Hewitt, the legendary producer of 60 Minutes. “Any news organization, print or broadcast, has the right to protect its reputation by divesting itself of a reporter, irrespective of who he or she is, who it feels reported as fact something that reflected his or her biases more than the facts bear,” he said in a Newsweek interview. “And if the reporter’s defense is that he or she had been ‘had,’ isn’t he or she someone a news organization worth its salt can no longer trust not to be ‘had’ again.”
Stunning, isn't it? And that's not all Don Hewitt had to say, either:
Hewitt says he had questioned whether the reporting was biased at a CBS meeting convened to discuss the controversy that began to swell after the story aired. “Let me ask one question,” he recalls addressing the gathering. “If this had been John Kerry, wouldn’t you have been more careful about the story?”
I don't think I quite buy this claim. It smells an awful lot like a hybrid of ass-covering and hindsighted piling-on. If Hewitt really had this concern, this "Road to Damascus" moment came awfully late and is awfully conveniently whipped out at this particular point in time.

Still, it's telling of how far out on the limb Dan Rather has slithtered with his "I was just following orders, it's everybody else's fault!" lawsuit against CBS that even his one-time closest allies and colleagues have publicly washed there hands of him.

More cases in point:
A senior CBS News insider said Rather is further damaging his reputation by suing. “I think it looks pathetic,” this executive told Newsweek on condition of not being identified. "It looks like the musing of an older man who can’t let go. This will have no winners. But the biggest loser will be Dan.”

And another former colleague questioned Rather’s motives, declaring that the former anchor is seeking to raise his profile in his post-CBS career at HDNet, a cable channel controlled by billionaire Mark Cuban. “Had he been a big success in his new life” at HDNet, this person speculated, “I don’t believe this would have happened. How do I get myself back into the news? Sue CBS, of course. All of a sudden, people are now talking about Dan Rather again.”
Personally, I don't think that Rather's reputation could get any worse, unless he was caught in the bathroom stall next to Larry Craig at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. If even your erstwhile friends are taking personal shots at you, that reputation, whatever it may once have been, has fundamentally changed, and not for the better:
I have obtained new documentary evidence regarding Dan Rather's relationship with his former bosses at CBS News.

Obviously, I cannot identify my source. But he told me during a collect call from Sofia, Bulgaria, that he has access to Rather's "personal files" and that his typewriter was built after 1966. To authenticate the document, I showed it to some of my kids' friends, and they said it was awesome. ...

Yes, there is another document making the rounds that suggests that Dan Rather is actually bitter at his former employers. I am referring to the 32-page "lawsuit" in which Rather purportedly accuses various chieftains at CBS of "coercing" him into a false apology for the National Guard broadcast and then muzzling him and starving him of airtime to please the White House.

Clearly, this "lawsuit" is a forgery - and a pretty crude one at that.

No man in Rather's position would admit that he could be made to apologize for a story he believed was true. A straight-shooting newsman like Dan Rather would have resigned rather than obey an order to lie to the public. ...

Finally, no one in his right mind would keep insisting that those phony documents are real and that the Bush National Guard story is true.
Rather would, because his partisan ego has trapped him in his own personal Land of Make-Believe beyond the ability of anybody to rescue him - and even his friends are reeling in the life-preservers.

Not that she matters, or ever did, but d'ya think Mary Mapes might finally be thinking of cutting her losses and tossing Gunga-Dan under the bus as well? And isn't it amazing to see a smear job against a Repubican president not only fail, but its lib perpetrators actually get something approximating their just deserts?