And there are still plenty of people so removed from reality that they still think he is relevant.
by Jen Kuznicki
Dan Rather is the grandfather figure for the disreputable media. They fawn over him, glorify him, and give tribute to him as a veteran journalist of high moral standard, and look to him to help them discern a way forward during the Trump administration.
Just yesterday People magazine published a fawning piece on Rather, calling him an icon and praising his comeback.
It is roundly believed that Rather, as a veteran TV anchorman, gave groundbreaking reporting during Watergate that “made his career,” and his likening supposed Russian ties to the President to that scandal gave weight to the failed media’s belief of the accuracy of his assumptions. News sites like The Hill amplified Rather’s stance as well as AOL, BBC, the Washington Post. Op-Eds in the New York Times and The Huffington Post, as well as the list of Leftist conspiracy kook websites like Vox and the Daily Kos hold Rather up as their light-bringer.
Rather, 85, has been using social media and new media platforms to give his analysis, predictions, and cheerleading for the failed media of which he played a big part over the past few decades. From MTV to a number of lefty Sirius XM radio hosts, Rather had been trying to rebut the Trump media lashing with constant speculation on Russian ties stemming from the Left’s desire to paint the new president as cozy with Russian leadership.
Recently, with Russia threatening the U.S., Rather has changed tactics because he can’t explain why his Trump/Russian ties mantra that has been going on for months through him and the failed media isn’t actually factual. Rather is an ideologue, and has been his whole life; a man who looked just credible enough to fool the nation that he was a muckraking “journalist” of integrity.
Rather, a CBS news anchor for decades before retiring on the heels of fake news from the 2004 election, embodies the mainstream media, who can’t really be viewed as non-partisan journalists, nor honest purveyors of journalistic efforts.
Since he is the standard by which the Left views as a journalist with integrity, it’s clear they are more interested in witch hunts by a left-wing propagandist using journalism as a weapon to bludgeon political opponents, than honestly report the news in an unbiased fashion.
“Look, we’ve made mistakes in the past. Somebody wrote in the paper the other day that I was, quote, ‘boneheaded.’ Well, of course, it’s a matter of record I’m boneheaded, said, ‘well, this is bizarre.’ Well, of course I’m bizarre, you know, we’ve known that for a long time…Somebody, I don’t know if he put it exactly this way, but he said, ‘well, you know, it’s a dumb-ass thing he’s doing.’ Well, you know, I’ve been a dumb-ass all my life.” — On the July 19, 2001 Imus in the Morning discussing his refusal to cover the scandal surrounding Democratic Congressman Gary Condit until his weekday CBS Evening News aired a single story on July 18.
The Johnson Years
When Dan Rather first learned that tapes of the bugging of Martin Luther King Jr.’s hotel rooms had been taped and produced, he stayed stayed silent upon the knowledge that tapes were produced and circulated of the bugging of Martin Luther King’s hotel rooms. He said he heard one tape, but never pointed out that Jack and Bobby Kennedy authorized surveillance of King by the FBI, which continued into the LBJ years.
According to Accuracy in Media, after the assassination of JFK, Rather regularly smeared the people of Dallas as a haven of “right-wing kooks.” Upon the 50th anniversary of the assassination, Rather was interviewed on ABC, ominously reporting what he believed was fact, “Everybody knew, if there was going to be trouble anywhere, it would be in Dallas.” In 2013, in an interview with local CBS station, Rather smeared Dallas, “there was no question that many in the leadership in Dallas in 1963, tried to make Dallas a citadel of resistance to desegregation and the movement for racial justice. Number two, they tried to make it a fortress of opposition to President Kennedy, the Kennedy administration, and for that matter, the Democratic administration.” Rather went on to say, “Dallas was a cauldron of opposition, in some cases detestation, and in some cases, I’m sorry to say, outright hatred toward President Kennedy. But that didn’t represent the whole city, unfortunately for Dallas many, not all had that point of view and had given Dallas a bad reputation.” But this narrative Rather has reportedly given his entire career doesn’t match with the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was, according to CBS’s own account after the assassination, “The man is 24-year-old Lee Oswald, espouser of leftist causes, an active member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, an avowed admirer of Russia and of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, a man who once lived in Russia.”
During the Reagan administration
Upon taking over the CBS news anchorman spot succeeding Walter Cronkite in 1981, Rather reportedly made over $2 million per year, his current net worth is reportedly $70 million.
During the Reagan administration, Rather’s CBS Evening News used Cuban Communist disinformation images to try to show the President was lying about the Soviets supplying military equipment to Nicaragua.
In the first year of the Reagan administration, amid talk of Reagan’s policy to beef up the American military, CBS News had a series of five broadcasts entitled, “The Defense of the United States,” and was anchored by Dan Rather. Though CBS branded it as, “balanced,” “fair,” and “accurate,” the series suffered from a host of reporter bias problems as pointed out in this 1981 piece in Commentary Magazine. One puzzling feature was in the episode entitled, “The War Machine,” in which Dan Rather stated, “Never before in our history have so many of our weapons been behind schedule, over budget, out of order.” A comment that was not backed up, by apparently anyone at CBS news.
Ronald Reagan actually called Rather during a broadcast complaining about the misrepresentation of his views.
Unverifiable Crazy Talk
Speaking the the Ladies Home Journal in 1980, Rather claimed he had someone in the Houston police station, shoot him with heroin so that he could do a story on it. Rather recounted the story many times, but in every rendering of the story, Rather offers no corroboration by the Houston Police. Houston Police denied it and hinted that Rather was deranged. Then again, perhaps he knew the Police would never be able to confirm it. We are left with wondering, once again, that Dan Rather might not be telling the truth.
Making the enemy comfy and other Rather fails
When Rather became the anchor for a news program titled “CBS Reports,” his first report focused on Cuba and he stayed at the Communist-controlled island as did other reporters. CBS bought an interview with Castro who admitted that they were helping “revolutionaries subvert other countries.” But Rather left that part out of his report, in fact, reported the opposite to the American people, saying Castro was interested in, “conciliation and trade.” He was of course cheered by the Castro-controlled Cuban media who called his reporting, “one of U.S. television’s finest hours.”
In 1996 Dan Rather hiked with Fidel Castro up mountains following what Rather called, “the Cuban Revolution’s holy land.” According to The Media Research Center in a piece entitled, “Fidel’s Flatterers,” Rather claimed, “The educational system is a jewel in the society his revolution has built….It’s a source of great pride for the President, as is Cuba’s literacy rate — virtually 100 percent.”
William F. Buckley called a particularly dishonest piece Dan Rather did, “a lynching” of Kissinger. Rather’s thrust was that Kissinger, while Secretary of State, either encouraged the Shah of Iran to lead OPEC nations in raising oil prices, or that he did nothing to try to discourage them from doing so. Kissinger offered mounds of evidence to Rather and the names of ten experts of which Rather used none. So Kissinger declined to go on “60 Minutes” and instead sent a five-page letter to Rather, which Rather ignored and continued his “prosecutorial reporting.”
In a “60 Minutes” episode about insurance fraud in 1979, Dan Rather held up as proof, a supposed list of medical procedures that were never performed, signed by, and he quoted, “Dr. Carl A. Galloway M.D.” The signature was a forgery, as Dr. Galloway would later prove in court, when he sued Rather and CBS. But CBS ultimately won the lawsuit because the jury, according to the judge’s instructions, had to determine that Rather slandered the Doctor, damaged the Doctor and committed a “reckless disregard of the truth.” The jury foreman, a Mr. Campbell, said, “We were trying to figure out what was in Dan Rather’s mind at the time of the broadcast, and most of us did not feel he had acted in reckless disregard for the truth.” He also said, “It’s a very sad thing for him, (Galloway) but we have to do what we think is right.” CBS on the other hand stated, “From the outset we were convinced that a dispassionate examination of the evidence would demonstrate clearly that the broadcast was fair and accurate.”
Rather’s reporting surrounding the JFK assassination was notoriously flawed. Rather had said he was one of few who were able to view the Zapruder film, and the first to go live with what he saw. He reported that the shot caused Kennedy’s head to be thrown “violently” forward, when it was thrown backward and to the left. It is possible that it is upon Rather’s bad reporting that many conspiracy theories feed, but the Zapruder film has become public and you can see for yourself Rather is lying.
In 1987, Rather walked off the set of the “CBS Evening News” in a “snit” over the coverage of women’s tennis, leaving the screen black for six minutes. Rather had told CBS that if he wasn’t live at 6:30, to have sports take the time slot to 7:00, but when the time came, instead of preparing for live TV, Rather walked off the set. The episode was brought up in a testy interview with Vice President George H.W. Bush who noted it when Rather refused to talk about things other than Iran-Contra while Bush was running as the presidential hopeful.
In a CBS News special titled, “The Wall Within,” Rather discussed the effects of service in Vietnam and some of the supposed actions of six Vietnam veterans whom he interviewed for the report. Giving the overall tone that Vietnam veterans regularly skinned people alive, killed civilians and children, and became despondent drug abusers and unemployed low-lifes, Rather’s report served as an impetus for a book titled Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and History by B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley. The authors said they requested the service records of all six men through FOIA, and according to those records, only one of the men was actually in Vietnam. Steve Southards had claimed to have been a 16-year-old Navy SEAL assassin in the Rather story, but the records listed him as an “internal communications repairman,” and that he had served time in the brig for going AWOL.
Bill and Hillary
In a fawning interview with Hillary Clinton, hard-hitting reporter Dan Rather asked her, among others, the following questions and made over-the-top statements: (H/T Media Research Center) “For whom do you root, the Mets or the Yankees?”…”First Lady Hillary Clinton is a political superstar.”…”Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning.”…”It’s hard to know what keeps her going through marital problems made public, political fights turned ugly, through triumphs, disasters and always the demands of her work.”… “The agenda she lays out seems downright old-fashioned. She sees her work as focusing on children and families…”…”What are the possibilities that one day, some day you’ll run for President?”… “Of all the allegations, accusations, charges made what do you consider to be the most unfair attack?”
Rather defended Bill Clinton’s lying under oath and called him an honest man, saying, “I think the fact that someone has told a lie, even a big lie or maybe several big lies over a lifetime, does not mean that they’re an inherently dishonest person….I believe in redemption and that Bill Clinton – is he an honest person? I think he is an honest person. Did he lie? Yes, he lied, and on those occasions he was dishonest.”— Appearing on the Feb. 7, 2002 Imus in the Morning radio show defending his comment from May 15, 2001 on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor that Clinton was “an honest man” and that “you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”
CBS’s Dan Rather uses forged documents to try to hand election to John Kerry
Two months before the 2004 election between George W. Bush and John Kerry, who was facing severe criticism from the group, “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” Dan Rather claimed on “60 Minutes II” that he had documentation that showed George W. Bush was given special treatment and did not fulfill his duties in the Air National Guard. The documentation was supposedly provided to Rather’s producer Mary Mapes by an anti-Bush zealot, Bill Burkett. Mapes coordinated the story with the Kerry campaign, and promised Burkett a conversation with the Kerry camp as a result of handing over the documents. Immediately after Rather aired the documents, they were seen as forgeries by Harry W. MacDougald and others, and, as John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson explained, Rather’s bad, made-up reporting was debunked by Americans of certain expertise with no way to get their knowledge published. The blogosphere had changed how news was accepted.
But even when it was proven that the documents were faked, and a film starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather, Rather stood by his belief of a lie, saying, “When I look back over the course of my career in moments of quiet reflection, there are other journalistic shortcomings I have made that cause me far more disappointment than the ones depicted in the film.” How much worse fake news has he reported that we don’t know about?
Defiant that he reported a true story with faked documents, Rather coined the term, “fake but accurate,” quite in line with the fake news he is peddling today.
Rather said of Rathergate, when talking about Benghazi, “We got into trouble, that is I and the other reporters, because we reported a true story…the difficulty with this Benghazi story, that they now acknowledge, the story was not true and they stood by it for a long time.”
According to Texas Monthly Rather said, “‘The story we reported has never been denied by George W. Bush, by anyone in his close circles, including his family,’ says Rather. ‘They have never denied the bulwark of the story, the spine of the story, the thrust of the story.’ (In fact, Bush officials have indeed denied it, repeatedly. In a conversation I had with former White House director of communications Dan Bartlett in 2007, he told me, ‘We believe the story is inaccurate, both the general thrust of it and the questionable sources they used.’”)
“Strangely, he has made only one attempt to contact the man who initially gave the documents to CBS, the former Guardsman and West Texas rancher Bill Burkett, who, after initially lying about where he got them, told a dubious tale of receiving them from shadowy characters at a cattle show in Houston—and then went stone silent. Burkett refused to talk to Rather.”~ Texas Monthly
The man Dan Rather replaced at CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite believed that Rather was a failure well before the famous Killian controversy, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “It surprised quite a few people at CBS and elsewhere that — that without being able to put up the ratings beyond third in a three-man field, that they tolerated his being there for so long.”
Rather’s career with CBS ended shortly thereafter.
He claimed in his lawsuit against CBS Corp in 2007, that due to the unwillingness of CBS to release him following the scandal, (Rathergate) he missed out on other business opportunities. He lost the $70 million case and the appellate court didn’t believe him either.
Somewhat humorously, The Media Research Center has taken note over the years of the attempt by Rather to seem like a “man of the people” if the people all talked in pained similies reminiscent of the Beverly Hillbillies. Some of these quotes deemed, “Ratherisms” are collected in a funny essay entitled “Remembering the Ratherisms.” The quotes include, “a lot of people thought that McMillan had as much business in this race as a moose in a phone booth.” and “that’s like if a frog had side pockets he’d probably wear a handgun.” and “this race was so nasty it would gag a buzzard.” and so on, you get the drift.
I asked Media Research Center’s director Brent Bozell why they named an award the Center gives out every year in it’s media dishonors award program after Dan Rather. Bozell responded:
“If you’re going to name an award for Stupidest Analysis of the year, why not name it after Dan Rather? Many years ago we coined the term “Ratherism” to describe incoherent phrases that this man could emit at the most inappropriate times, on national television. “It’s tighter than a prairie dog’s butt in a dust bowl!” is one of an endless list of examples that would make his audience shake its head in collective disbelief. The problem is that unless we capture this wisdom in a bottle, for future generations to savor, the future of Western Civilization as we know it will be diminished. We cannot let this happen. Isn’t it fitting, then, that we would name ours the Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis?”
There is so much more. Rather is far removed from reality, and is basically just a handmaiden doing the bidding of the Left. And at 85, he’s still out there doing it, and getting covered for his efforts as a legitimate journalist to this day. And there are still plenty of people so removed from reality that they still think he is relevant.
The moral of this story is that the media has been corrupt for many, many years. It’s not just Trump they hate, they’ve been misinforming the nation as a matter of course and holding themselves up as journalists with integrity.