It All Started in a 5,000-Watt Radio Station in Fresno, California...
By Ed Driscoll · March 1, 2005 04:42 PM · Oh, That Liberal Media!
In honor of Dan Rather's last full week as anchorman at CBS, the Media Research Center have selected his most infamous moments to highlight. What's fascinating to me is how a man in his 60s, who's been a television reporter for most of his adult life can say answer two decades of partisanship with lines such as:
“I’m all news, all the time. Full power, tall tower. I want to break in when news breaks out. That’s my agenda. Now, respectfully, when you start talking about a liberal agenda and all the, quote, ‘liberal bias’ in the media, I quite frankly, and I say this respectfully but candidly to you, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”I know that that sort of fascade of objectivity was neccessary in the days when there were only three national commercial television networks and one or two newspapers per city, but why should Americans believe that a guy gets to reach such an exhaulted position as network anchorman without having some thoughts as to which party he prefers?
Of course, it lends much credence to Peggy Noonan's take on Rather, which was largely formed over the period that Noonan wrote for him:
If you were a young Dan Rather you knew which side was the side to be on. You knew which side your bosses were on. You knew which side would lead to your rise. And you knew which side would win.Every once in a while, the Mary Tyler Moore Show would do an episode where Ted Baxter made it on national TV, if only for that week. (I think one particular episode sent him to Manhattan as a game show host.) Dan Rather illustrates what would have happened if Ted somehow stumbled upon a permanent career as a national newsman--with no core of his own, or one, that as Noonan noted, could be molded like Play Dough by his employers.
Fortunately, thanks to Fox News and the Blogosphere, there's less need to try to hide your biases today (although of course, Rather-like feigns of God-like Objectivity continue, if less often). As I wrote shortly after RatherGate broke:
One thing that Rather has in common with both Walter Cronkite, and Ted Baxter, another (albeit fictional) ex-CBS employee, is the belief that as a newsman, if he doesn't appear omniscient, he can't succeed. Imagine any blogger saying, "And that's the way it is", as Uncle Walter did every night and expecting his readers to trust him solely based on his word, without the reader following the links and doing his own digging.If Johnny Carson's retirement in the early 1990s was the end of one of TV's bright spots, then Rather's impeding swan song is its flipside. And it doesn't sound like he'll be missed by many of his co-workers at Black Rock, either.
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