Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rather's Remedial Journalism for Couric

Rapidly depleting the good-will balance in his Journalism Hall of Fame account, Dan Rather had a few words yesterday for Katie Couric, who succeeded him as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

Discussing broadcast news with Joe Scarborough, the pole-dancing expert, on Imus’ old show, Rather observed Couric was “dumbing it down” and “tarting it up,” stopping just short of describing her as nappy-headed.

Rather’s decline into an intemperate scold is saddening for those who remember and admire him as a feisty reporter who stood up to Nixon, helped expose Watergate and succeeded Walter Cronkite as a fabled network anchor.

His condemnation of CBS News’ current approach could be debated, but its form and manner come with ill grace from a man whose illustrious career imploded during the George Bush era.

On Bill Moyers’ recent “Buying the War,” Rather, clearly racked by guilt, confessed there was no excuse for “my performance and the performance of the press in general in the rollup to the war,” citing only the trauma of 9/11 in mitigation.

Even worse, by inexcusable sloppiness that ended his CBS career, Rather helped reelect Bush in 2004. In failing to verify documents, he allowed the Bush smear machine to make his reporting the issue rather the subject of it, Bush’s avoidance of serving in Vietnam.

Armchair psychology might suggest that Rather’s new role as a scourge may stem, in some part, from guilt and anger over his own failings. But that does not give him license to, in effect, call Katie Couric the journalistic equivalent of a nappy-headed ho.


Anonymous said...

as someone who's seen networks give more attention to Paris Hilton, G8 and immigration, I think Rather's dead on... he's not a grumpy old man; he's calling it how it is...

Anonymous said...

Dan Rather can be called many things... A liar, he ain't.

Blue Herald

Anonymous said...

I would go rather further than Mr. Rather's comments. The MSM is mostly a lapdog for the powers that be in this country. Read some history, namely the Church Commission hearings of the mid-70's, to get a feel for how propagandized We the People are.


Many of the well regarded reporters, radio and TV, were bought and paid for by the US Government (CIA) to downplay the horrendous things that were being done overseas by our CIA and other covert operatives. This effort went into high gear with the US and British instigated and executed overthrow of the duly elected leader of Iran in 1953. The follow-on was the overthrow by the CIA of the Guatemalan government the next year followed by the beginnings of our illegal, immoral involvement in Indochina. Reporters and the media in general were bulled and bribed to not report on such goings on or at least mislead American citizens. Even the "hero" of the McCarthy downfall, Edward R. Murrow, was paid-off by the CIA.

The use of the MSM to mislead and propagandize American citizens is one of the greatest propaganda coups of the 20th and 21st centuries. Remember, the Bush administration used $350,000,000 of our tax dollars to sell us the war in Iraq. The real figure was probably much more. Have you heard about that? Probably no. It was carried by a few MSM outlets with little hard-hitting journalism involved.

Couric is just one more shill in the game and deserves the opprobrium that all shills deserve. Or, go watch American Idol; Bread and Circus for all.

Naomi said...

Sorry, sir, I'm making it four/four against your post.

Rather didn't go far enough, although I enjoyed seeing "dumbing down and tarting up" as a descriptor for today's Newzbiz.

When information-dissemination was sacrificed on the altar of commerce and pimped to the Neilsen charts, we all lost something we may never get back. Everything that they now do wrong started right there.

Walter Cronkite has been saying much the same things but with more diplomacy. However, no one is paying as much attention to Cronkite's words, as they are to Rather's...