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Dan Rather’s Idea of News – Thanks, But No Thanks

October 26, 2009

At least someone likes Dan Rather.

TV Newser reports that ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather has weighed in on the Obama Administration’s attacks on the Fox News Channel.  Given the example of Glenn Beck interviewing Ann Coulter about Rush Limbaugh, Rather said,

“One entertainer interviewing a second entertainer about a third entertainer isn’t my idea of news.”

He complained about corporate influence corrupting journalism, and stated his opposition to any potential effort to censor any news or opinion outlet, even a purely-propagandistic cable station—“and we may be near that now.”

Oh, where to begin?

Perhaps by observing that it never seems to occur to MSM types to raise similar entertainer-on-entertainer questions about sitdowns between sportscaster Keith Olbermann and alleged comedian Janeane Garofalo. Of course the Beck/Coulter/Limbaugh example isn’t news. It’s opinion.  So what?  Not only is Glenn Beck’s show just one of several types of show Fox airs, but the above scenario is just one of several different types of segment Beck does on his show!

It’s not Beck’s eccentricity or his temper that’s riled the Left (if it was, I’d like them to meet a fellow by the name of Ed Schultz,) but his much-noticed investigative reporting that’s taken the shine off of Hope & Change.

The boogeyman of evil corporations is an old liberal favorite.  It is an article of progressive faith that conservative opinions cannot be trusted, and must be driven by ulterior motives, the most common of which being money.  Boy, it sure is a relief to know that the Left doesn’t have any deep-pocketed benefactors or corporate media moguls of its own to worry about!  Oh, wait…

Of course, the most glaring problem with Dan Rather offering his two cents on what’s journalism and what’s propaganda is that he doesn’t know the difference.  A longtime partisan who regularly let his liberalism seep into his reporting (such as his professed admiration for Bill & Hillary Clinton), Rather has churned out some “pure propaganda” of his own a time or two.  In 1988 he interviewed six supposed combat veterans of the Vietnam War for a TV documentary about unspeakable atrocities committed in America’s name, and the toll the war took on our fighting men.  But it turned out that their horror stories were fraudulent (most of the interviewees never even saw combat,) as were the statistics on homelessness, suicide, and mental illness among Vietnam vets that the show publicized.

Most famously, in the heat of Election 2004 Rather used the “CBS Evening News” to promote forged documents slandering President George W. Bush’s military service—a scandal that ultimately cost Rather his job.  I think that if we really want to know how to identify real news, we’d best look elsewhere.


Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

  1. David Forsmark permalink
    October 26, 2009 5:32 pm

    Heard in a Chicago church… “CBS’s CHIClENNNS, have come HOME to ROOST!!!!

  2. swemson permalink
    October 26, 2009 9:20 pm

    I remember watching Rather on the CBS evening news, some months before Nixon resigned, reporting on some of his sleazier behavior, and I could literally see his seething anger at Nixon as he spoke with the little drops of spittle flying from his mouth….

    I was in my late 30’s at the time, and at that moment I KNEW that there was something wrong with him and that he wasn’t to be trusted….

    I don’t think I ever intentionally watched him after that…

    • herseyk permalink
      October 27, 2009 11:21 am

      Not to mention the glee that ALL network stars had when Clinton was elected without a majority of the vote !! Even I was excited and hopeful – they kept it a little under wraps, buty definately showed their true colors (sorry theblacksphere) on election nite 1994 !! What scowls and shock – I especially remember a couple of the blond newcasters – Stahl, Walters.. Funny that I recently read several times about the Fox Blonds !! LOL

  3. herseyk permalink
    October 27, 2009 11:18 am

    Apropos of ??? — The Watchdog …

  4. Steve R permalink
    October 28, 2009 9:43 am

    Pardon the thoughts of a retired broadcast journalist who started out in the business when Ed Murrow was still around (1964). The field has NEVER been about pure news. There ain’t no sich-uh-thang, boys and girls. Never was. Never will be. It’s always been at least partly about entertainment, and capturing an audience with sound, pictures, personalities and “stories”, and the subsequent ratings that bring in moneymoneymoney. And that holds true from a 5K-watt daytimer in Bucksnort, Idaho to the great, vaunted ABCCBSNBCCNN or whichever other hi-falutin outlet you choose. Eventually it became more important to entertain, and to peddle an agenda, than to inform.

  5. Michaelle Maloney permalink
    October 28, 2009 11:22 am

    Well, Dan Rather-Not- you have a great way of telling the news-its so great you LOST your job idiot! Iget bored when communist talk about communist who talk about communist.

  6. Michaelle Maloney permalink
    October 28, 2009 11:28 am

    The last time I listened to Rather-Not and close to the last time was when Reagan passed away. Rather-Not kept talking about John Kennedy instead. You would think it was John who recently died instead. I turned the channel out of anger in confusion-because his news was about John Kennedy not Reagon who had died. So again, what a real great news man-he talks about a dead person of years ago versus one who recently died-yeah, wow, what great news to do flips over. He can’t even honor the real man who died-but disrespects him to talk about his liberal communist bias. And John Kennedy wasn’t what liberal even was when Reagan died.

  7. Joseph Cottrell permalink
    October 28, 2009 2:38 pm

    Dan Rather complaining about “corruption…in journalism” – I’d say something like “now I’ve heard it all” but every time I do, they come up with something better.

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