Dan Rather Strikes Back (Finally!)

USA Today‘s blog “On Deadline” reports: Report: Rather files $70M lawsuit against CBS News

Which is cribbing from another newspaper, rather than bloggers, and THEREFORE, deserves attribution. It comes from a New York Times story:

Rather Files $70 Million Lawsuit Against CBS

Published: September 20, 2007*
[*Tomorrow’s news today]

Dan Rather, whose career at CBS News ground to an inglorious end 15 months ago over his role in an unsubstantiated report questioning President Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service, filed a $70 million lawsuit this afternoon against the network, its corporate parent and three of his former superiors.

Mr. Rather, 75, asserts that the network violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on “60 Minutes” after forcing him to step down as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March 2005. He also contends that the network committed fraud by commissioning a “biased” and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast and, in the process, “seriously damaged his reputation.”

The story goes on to say:

For both Mr. Rather and CBS, the filing of the suit threatens to once again focus attention on one of the darker chapters in the history of the network and its storied news division, at a moment when it is already reeling…. The portrait of Mr. Rather that emerges from the 32-page filing bears little resemblance to the hard-charging, seemingly fearless anchor who for two decades shared the stage with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings as the most watched and recognizable journalists in America.

By his own rendering, Mr. Rather was little more than a narrator of the disputed broadcast, which was shown on Sept. 8, 2004, on the midweek edition of “60 Minutes” and which purported to offer new evidence of preferential treatment given to Mr. Bush when he was a lieutenant in the Air National Guard.

Instead of directly vetting the script he would read for the Guard segment, Mr. Rather says, he acceded to pressure from Mr. Heyward to focus instead on his reporting from Florida on Hurricane Frances, and on Bill Clinton’s heart surgery.

Mr. Rather says in the filing that he allowed himself to be reduced to little more than a patsy in the furor that followed, after CBS — and later the outside panel it commissioned — concluded that the report was based on documents that could not be authenticated. Under pressure, Mr. Rather says, he delivered a public apology on his newscast on Sept. 20, 2004 — written not by him but by a CBS corporate publicist — “despite his own personal feelings that no public apology from him was warranted.”

Confirming, perhaps, what I’ve felt for some time about this: The W(S)hite House exercises continuous, relentless pressure on news organizations — through their management — as a means of controlling the news. This is ethically outrageous, antithetical to the First Amendment, and easily swallowed by those smug, self-sanctified “super patriots” who claim to be the REAL Americans.

Who wants to take bets that CBS will settle, with the obligatory gag order, so as not to suffer further embarrassment? (CBS News has suddenly become actively fearful of actual “truth,” Katie Couric’s fake video-blogging, then her employee slapping incident and their bottom-feeding ratings only enhancing an already-in-place regime of lies, spin and feeble excuses.

How the mighty have fallen. From Murrow to Couric seems an almost incalculable drop from the (to paraphrase Napoleon) sublime to the ridiculous.

Here, it took more than a single step.


UPDATE 1:39 PM: Charles Johnson, a/k/a Little Green Footballswho made his fame by leading the blogosmear’s yowling for Rather’s head — posts this gloaty little turd (Faux Nooz, especially Hannity, note that I didn’t call LGF “this gloaty little turd” but, rather characterized the Rather post as “this gloaty little turd.” I know that you have trouble parsing plain English.)

Dan Rather, who was the stooge in a plot to tilt a presidential election with phony documents, is suing CBS for $70 million, and still insisting the documents weren’t proven to be fake.

And now “Newsbusters – Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias” has piled on, with this moronic standard “hypocrisy” post, which richly deserves a Fisking:

Rather Warned Us Years Ago: Some Americans ‘Sue at the Drop of a Hat’

By Tim Graham | September 19, 2007 – 16:33 ET

Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS should be dismissed, both in court and in public opinion, as a shameless and ridiculous effort to retract his on-air apologies for his smearing of President Bush with bogus National Guard documents in 2004. The New York Times reports Rather is suing CBS for what he claims is the network’s “‘biased’ and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast.” That’s rich, since it was Rather’s reporting itself that was biased and incomplete.

Dan Rather didn’t always have this rosy view of big-money litigation. See the CBS Evening News from March 14, 1996: “In tonight’s Eye on America, a look beyond the heat to try to shed some light on a growing national problem: Americans who – some of them – will sue at the drop of a hat.”

Note that this is ALL assertion, and that even were Rather PERSONALLY responsible for the consistency of each and every CBS Evening News Story ever broadcast, the “hypocrisy” label only works if, in fact, the lawsuit was “at the drop of a hat.”

Gee, having waited three years since the incident, one would assume that this wasn’t just at the “drop of a hat.’ Indeed, it’s hard to see how the case can be made that it IS at the drop of a hat.

But this isn’t enough for our blogosmearer (and I will note here that Newsbusters is less a media watchdog group than an attack blog, more aimed at reinforcing Rightie talking points than with any actual devotion to truth or accuracy. It’s more about truthiness:

The CBS story that followed by Richard Threlkeld explained “silly lawsuits” like the McDonald’s hot-coffee case and a San Diego lawsuit where a man was traumatized by a local stadium suddenly offering unisex bathrooms at a concert.

How these lawsuits are sillier than Rather’s escapes me.

Now, technically, this may well be an absolutely true conclusion. The point may very well escape Newsbustier (sic) Graham.

But, alas, how the two cases cited stack up against the destruction of a news career that began in the early 1960s, as Rather covered hurricanes, presidential assassinations, the Vietnam war, was famously grabbed and manhandled on the floor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, sparred with Richard Nixon, covered Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II … I guess it escapes me how Dan Rather’s long-considered lawsuit over the destruction of that career is EQUIVALENT to the coffee and bathrooms cases.

But I guess the need to smear Rather some more trumps logic. What? You question my conclusion that this is an INTENTIONAL smear?

Here is the last line. Tell me how else to interpret it:

Ken Shepherd posted the funnier parts of the Times summation of the Rather suit.

“… the funnier parts …”?

Funny only if one were holding Rather up to ridicule. And that takes intent.

If one clicks on the link, the story NEVER mentions ANY “funny” stuff. It merely reprints a huge chunk of the New York Times story with this (total) commentary:

Dan Rather Sues CBS for $70M
Photo of Ken Shepherd.
By Ken Shepherd | September 19, 2007 – 16:54 ET

Dan Rather (file photo from Memogate days) is now suing his former employer for a cool $70 million. Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times has more.

Although it’s impossible to sue the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy itself, Rather makes clear groups like the Media Research Center and other conservative activists are to blame for his allegedly unfair dismissal from the Tiffany Network: [NYT story]

Michelle Malkin, that Kewpie Doll from Hell™ weighs in, still obsessed with this weekend’s blogosmear meltdown on the MoveOn/NYTimes ad rate “controversy” that fell apart and has seemingly vanished from the Rightie Blogs altogether:

Dan Rather has not moved on
By Michelle Malkin • September 19, 2007 04:00 PM

Yes, my friends, Gunga Dan is suing Viacom and CBS for $70 million over the loss of his network career after the Rathergate debacle: [NYT story]

And she concludes (after reiterating the points of the ex-GOP Attorney General Dick Thornburgh — under Reagan and Bush I — report ) with this weird bit of nastiness:

Myopic zeal. Rigid and blind.

The more things change, the more Dan Rather stays the same.

Posted in: Swift Boat Vets, Dan Rather, Rathergate

What does “Swift Boat Vets” have to do with George W. Bush’s drunken odyssey from the Texas Air Guard to the Alabama Air Guard to the Massachusetts Air Guard to avoid service in Vietnam? Hmmm. Freudian slip by the Kewpie?

But the main point: if Rather (“Mr. Rather was little more than a narrator of the disputed broadcast”) was pretty much relegated to narrator status (and those who follow such things might recall that almost exactly the same scenario was at play when Peter Arnett was removed from CNN for narrating a report on the use of chemical weapons in Vietnam), then what possible relevance could the laundry list recited by Malkin have?

No: this is about a smear, and KEEPING the lid on that smear. Odd that it should take place in the same week that Butt Plug Bob has essentially admitted that his New York Times ad rate fantasy (that Malkin JUMPED on, Saturday) has collapsed, and that L’Affair Beauchamp ISN’T quite as over* as the blogosmear would have had us believe.

[*In teensy-weensy little print at the bottom of the article, Newsbuster, Media Mythbuster, Pajamas Media, Confederate Yankee blogger “citizen journalist” Bob Owens issued this retraction/correction:

Correction: The article originally said Beauchamp had signed a sworn statement that recanted the accounts in his three pseudonymous articles for The New Republic. He did not recant, but did not stand by his claims.

Gee, Bob. That’s HUGE. You have been claiming — along with Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard, that Beauchamp had RECANTED. No wonder you had to hide it in small print at the bottom. More on this breaking tsunami of mendacity later. HW]

Perhaps a day of retribution for the ratfucking corps is at hand.


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2 Responses to Dan Rather Strikes Back (Finally!)

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    Rather sueing CBS, in the bigger scheme of things, is hardly even newsworthy. Not to dissimilar from “The sun rose again today”.

    How wonderful that a bunch of pea brains are able to celebrate in unison a non-event. It seems like folks could focus more on how miserably GWB has failed in his military stint as Commander In Chief than on how he might or might not have failed miserably in a national guard gig he used to avoid getting shot at in The Nam.

  2. Darrell Prows says:

    Rather sueing CBS, in the bigger scheme of things, is hardly even newsworthy. Not to dissimilar from “The sun rose again today”.

    How wonderful that a bunch of pea brains are able to celebrate in unison a non-event. It seems like folks could focus more on how miserably GWB has failed in his military stint as Commander In Chief than on how he might or might not have failed miserably in a national guard gig he used to avoid getting shot at in The Nam.