Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bye-Bye Dan!

Tonight's Dan Rather's last night as anchor of CBS News. Yes, I'll probably watch it if I get home in time. I saw Walter Cronkite make his final broadcast, and this will make two. But I don't think that Rather's departure can be compared to that of his predecessor.

Dan Rather is leaving under a very dark cloud for journalism, and it is a cloud of his own creation. He used his position in CBS News to ram through and heavily defend a story based on evidence that could not be verified. Even to this day, Dan Rather refuses to admit that the memos in question were forgeries, and the so-called "special investigation" designed to whitewash the matter (and thus protect Rather) refused to even question the validity of the memos. Instead, the investigation focused on what wasn't done on behalf of CBS News and which one of his underlings needed to take the fall. In that regard, he was no different in the performance of his job than any corrupt politician.

Dan Rather should have been fired for the "Memogate" problem, but instead, like any corrupt politician, he was given the option to bow out with grace. Several other people expressed the same sentiment, not just in regards to "Memogate" but also his performance in the past. Donald Trump would have fired him years ago. Even his own predecessor didn't have kind things to say about Rather's job performance.

And bear in mind that the Bloggers didn't do Dan in. Nor did Darth Rove. Even if Darth Rove personally typed up the forged memos himself and personally handed it to the Bush-hater to give to producer Mary Mapes, Dan Rather has nobody to blame for the story failing but himself. All the Blogging community did was point out errors in the memo. They observed something that wasn't right about the documents and they called CBS on that error. If CBS News did what they were supposed to do in the first place, those memos would never have been used and the story would have never aired, and Dan Rather wouldn't be preparing for his farewell show.

Even more bothersome is the "hero's salute" CBS will give him at 8pm. He's leaving under a cloud of controversy of his own creation, and yet CBS wants to treat him like he's still on top of the world. You can tell that it was one of his little conditions of leaving.

And it should be noted that Rather won't be leaving CBS News... he's just giving up the coveted anchor chair. He's still going to be busy with 60 Minutes and other projects for CBS News. He's still going to screw around with the news for several more years to come. But at least he won't be there every weeknight.

So Dan... good night, good-bye...

And what IS the frequency?

03/10 - Update: I managed to catch Dan Rather's last story and his prolonged good-bye message.

Yeah, "courage". I needed courage to watch the whole thing without throwing up.

He played the 9/11 card harder that Rudy Guliani and Bush Junior combined and made it sound like he was martyring himself on behalf of the viewers. I think the only reason why everyone in the newsroom gave him a standing obvation after he signed off was in celebration that is was finally OVER!

Did he actually WRITE that whole diatribe or was he just ad-libbing?

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