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Dan Rather and George Bush


John Simkin
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Interesting article by Hannah Strange in the Times today. It is probably relevant that Rather first came into conflict with the Bush family over the Iran-Contra story:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/worl...icle2496954.ece

Dan Rather, the award-winning former anchorman for US broadcaster CBS, has launched a $70 million lawsuit against his long-time employer, claiming bosses made him a “scapegoat” for a discredited story about President George W. Bush’s military record.

Maintaining he was sacrificed in order to appease the White House, Rather said the affair had irrevocably damaged his reputation and caused him considerable financial loss.

Rather, 75, was removed from the CBS Evening News anchor chair he had occupied for 24 years in March 2005, following months of controversy over a story he had narrated in September 2004, in the closing weeks of the presidential election campaign.

The report claimed that during Mr Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard – a posting which spared him from service in Vietnam – he shirked duties and disobeyed orders, relying on his political connections to avoid punishment. The explosive story, based on documents supposedly written by the former commander who covered for his transgressions, was immediately seized upon by Democrats, who had long pointed to his avoidance of Vietnam service as evidence he was a “chickenhawk” – belligerent but in reality less equipped to command the troops than his rival John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Critics, however, suggested the documents had been forged. A CBS review was set up, which failed to confirm or deny the authenticity of the papers and concluded that the story had been neither fair nor accurate. The producer responsible was fired and three executives asked to resign, while Rather, despite his limited role in the story, was forced to apologise on air, a move that he claims all but destroyed his career.

The lawsuit names as defendants CBS, its former parent company Viacom and senior executives Leslie Moonves, Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward. Rather is “seeking damages for breach of contract, reputational harm, and fraud related to their unwarranted treatment” of the anchor.

It claims that the defendants “well knew, even if any aspect of the broadcast had not been accurate, which has never been established, Mr. Rather was not responsible for any such errors.”

By making Rather apologize publicly, “CBS intentionally caused the public and the media to attribute CBS’ alleged bungling of the episode to Mr. Rather,” the lawsuit claims. As a consequence, some news media began to refer to the affair as “Rathergate,” forever associating his name with the affair.

“Mr Rather believes these actions were driven by the defendants’ political agenda to make Mr. Rather a scapegoat and intentionally tarnish his reputation,” lawyers for the newsman said in a statement.

After spending his final few months in the job under a cloud of controversy, Rather was removed from the programme which established him as a household name, and, he claims, was marginalised within the organisation, being given fewer, less important assignments and minimal airtime on shows such as 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II.

At the time, the anchor was earning $6 million a year, the lawsuit says. Now, Rather presents a little known weekly news show on cable channel HDNet, with ratings a fraction of what he regularly commanded on CBS.

Rather still maintains the veracity of the story, which had already been circulating for some time but had never been proved. He claims in the lawsuit that his removal was instigated by Viacom Chairman Redstone, who believed it politically expedient to assuage White House anger by discrediting Rather, long perceived by conservatives as excessively liberal. An “enraged” Redstone said the anchor and anyone associated with him had to go, according to the lawsuit, filed at the New York State Supreme Court yesterday.

Dana McClintock, CBS spokesperson, said Rather's claims were old news and that the lawsuit was entirely without merit.

The report issued by the CBS panel investigating the affair – comprised of Richard Thornburgh, a former US attorney general, and Louis D. Boccardi, a retired chief executive of The Associated Press, paints Rather as a anchor “pushed to the limit” and juggling several stories at once.

Issued in January 2005, it says Rather “relied on a trusted producer and did not check the story for accuracy or, apparently, even see it before he introduced it on the programme.”

The network hurried the story out and then blindly defended it when questions began to emerge, said the panel. It could not confirm or deny the authenticity of the memos concerned.

Rather started working at CBS News as a reporter in 1962, replacing the legendary Walter Kronkite as the Evening News anchor in 1981. He has won numerous awards for his work, which includes coverage of the assassination of president John F. Kennedy, the wars in Vietnam, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, both wars in Iraq and the September 11 attacks.

However his forceful manner earned him detractors, particularly among conservatives, who frequently levelled complaints of excessive media liberalism at both him and CBS as a whole. An incident in which he engaged in a shouting match on live television with George W. Bush’s father, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, over the Iran-Contra affair, only compounded his unpopularity on the right.

A journalistic star of the old school, Rather initially took CBS Evening News soaring to the top of ratings, but by the end of his time on the programme it had dwindled to a distant third.

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For a meticulous dissection of GWB's failure to serve his full military obligation, and why, please see:

http://www.glcq.com/

Additional context can be found at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-moore/my...te_b_65222.html

and:

http://www.russbaker.com/Why%20Bush%20Left%20Texas.htm

One notes in reading from the above that the IBM Selectric "superscript" issue was a contrivance, as demonstrated by other contemporaneous documents from the period. For all intents and purposes, Bush was designated a deserter ["non-locatee"] by the US military.

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Rather still maintains the veracity of the story, which had already been circulating for some time but had never been proved. He claims in the lawsuit that his removal was instigated by Viacom Chairman Redstone, who believed it politically expedient to assuage White House anger by discrediting Rather, long perceived by conservatives as excessively liberal. An “enraged” Redstone said the anchor and anyone associated with him had to go, according to the lawsuit, filed at the New York State Supreme Court yesterday.

Sumner Redstone features prominently in the list of Jewish owners of the US media:

http://chat.metro.co.uk/metro/threadnonInd...;message=652427

Nothing wrong with that, except for one thing--their unstinting support for Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Hmmm....and their unstinting support for the WC and their unstinting opposition to any genuine enquiries into the matter. Hmmm.

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I personally hope that Dan Rather wins his lawsuit against CBS ... The White House witch hunt which cost him his career ( and I'm sure many other things ) really occured because Rather had Bush's number ... I guess accusing a moronic buffoon of a president , who stole the last two elections , a draft dodging coward also , was more information that the American public was allowed to know about .

The fact that Bush rarely ever showed up for his Texas Air National Guard duty was a complete disgrace , considering that was his daddy's way of keeping him from being drafted to fight in Viet Nam .

Edited by Duane Daman
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I personally hope that Dan Rather wins his lawsuit against CBS ... The White House witch hunt which cost him his career ( and I'm sure many other things ) really occured because Rather had Bush's number ... I guess accusing a moronic buffoon of a president , who stole the last two elections , a draft dodging coward also , was more information that the American public was allowed to know about .

The fact that Bush rarely ever showed up for his Texas Air National Guard duty was a complete disgrace , considering that was his daddy's way of keeping him from being drafted to fight in Viet Nam .

Wasn't the problem with Bush's transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard - the outfit that supplied the pilots for the Bay of Pigs, and lost a couple of guys?

Also, if the records that Rather obtained and used on the show can be demonstrated to be forgeries, isn't the creation of false military records a crime?

Why isn't there any effort to determine the identify of those who created these false government records, if indeed they are bogus?

That's only two questions, right?

BK

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Also, if the records that Rather obtained and used on the show can be demonstrated to be forgeries, isn't the creation of false military records a crime?

Why isn't there any effort to determine the identify of those who created these false government records, if indeed they are bogus?

That's only two questions, right?

BK

Interesting questions ... Yes, falsifying governmet records is a crime ... A crime that was NOT committed by Dan Rather , but rather the people who decided to set him up to take a very big fall .

It's very obvious why there never was any proper government investigation into this matter ... It's the same reason there was not , and will never will be , any proper government investigation into the crimes of 9/11 .

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