What Would We Do Without Dan Rather?

I’m serious. I would not have felt this way five years ago, but conservatives have gained so much ground through alternative media sources, including the blogosphere, that our voices are being heard regardless of major media bias. At this point, they have been completely countered.

With people like Rather on board, they will remain constrained because we have learned how to deal with them. Their politics will remain obvious, and they will continue to embarrass themselves. The games they play with bias will continue to appear absurd and provide fuel for conservative pundits. Most importantly, with these dinosaurs in place, they discredit and marginalize the liberal political message.

What more could we want? Even with Rather and his type gone, major media bias will remain. But it will take a more stealthy form. More subtle bias from replacement anchors who might convincingly appear to be in the political center would be worse than the status quo. Right now, Rather is our weapon; he has become our moral cudgel. His name is a call to arms. He is a living, breathing meme—a walking advertisement for liberal media bias.

The only thing better than Dan Rather at CBS would be more Dan Rathers—one for each network and maybe even a couple more for weekends.

(originally posted at The Perfect World)

8 thoughts on “What Would We Do Without Dan Rather?”

  1. sigh.

    In other words, Dan Rather doesn’t matter but that’s all everybody talks about. Like the election is about him, or Vietnam, or National Guard attendance records. Does anyone care ? Is this what people are going to vote about ?

    Whatever discredit he brought on himself, going on and on about him as if it mattered so much is every bit as discrediting and marginalizing for his opponents, in my opinion.

    Rather has shot his own credibility. Next.

    (Just my $.02…I guess I am tired of a sideshow circus getting all the attention…)

  2. I want Rather to stay at the fetid swamp of CBS for the same reason I want Liberals to invest in Air America Radio. I want them to expend their money and capital in what I know to be fruitless ventures.

  3. In other words, Dan Rather doesn’t matter but that’s all everybody talks about. Like the election is about him, or Vietnam, or National Guard attendance records. Does anyone care ? Is this what people are going to vote about ?

    I understand this revision of my point in light of your frustration with the story. I felt the same way about the Abu Ghraib story after the fourth week or so. But I would suggest that the Dan Rather affair is of such importance, that the blogosphere should continue to push it. It is probably the first high-profile story with legs that demonstrates major network bias to a wider audience than just conservatives. Bloggers initially forced the majors to air the story; now they are keeping the story from being buried. And it should continue. Major media bias has been a problem for decades.

    Ratherbiased wrote today about further embarrassment for CBS–something I mentioned would happen.

    Just as it earlier refused to run with Bill Burkett’s third-rate forgeries, the Democrats have mostly stayed away from draft speculation. But last night, CBS News once again let its ideological blinders cause it massive embarrassment.

    You’d think that in the midst of the terrible publicity he is getting for working closely with a partisan Democrat–bent on bringing down President Bush–that Dan Rather would have the good sense to lay off the liberal bias for a while . . . .

    He can’t. His position is too important. He should be called on it.

  4. I agree that Rather should be called on it, again and again. The issue shouldn’t be allowed to fade (what CBS is hoping for). It may be old news for bloggers but for many other people it’s still new. CBS will resist change for as long as they can. They need to feel constant heat.

  5. I take exception to the first post.

    In addition to the fact that I HATE the usage of “sigh”, I would like to suggest a deeper issue that might rouse that commenter from his/her apathy:

    CBS uses a public broadcasting channel. Which means that, ostensibly, we, the people, own the airwaves. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that networks such as CBS hold their licenses in part because they are “serving the public good.”

    Now, CBS is being shown to utilize unsubstantiated stories (Killian memos, draft reinstatement email) — wait, let’s go so far as to say: substantially debunked stories — in what appears to be a propaganda mechanism to affect a federal election (and I did not initially consider the issue that serious, but I do now).

    We, the people, own the airwaves. The FCC (I think) monitors the compliance of the use of OUR airwaves, under regulations set by OUR elected representatives.

    If CBS is using our (public utility) airwaves in a manner outside of compliance with the rules and regulations set forth by our elected officials, that is, indeed, a serious issue.

    I think it is much more serious than Janet Jackson having a “wardrobe malfunction” — which garnered hundreds of thousands of complaints to the FCC.

    I think we should all complain to the FCC, and ask them to investigate if CBS is serving the public good in continuing to publish patently false reports under the guise of news reporting.

  6. – Well, cj, you are certainly free to “HATE” the usage of anything; I hate when strangers tell me what kind of word usage they hate, as if I had to care. To each his own, I guess.

    – And we do not agree either; I know the FCC has some power to regulate speech and I find the concept awful enough as it is. Regulation of spectrum allocation is already enough of a burden as it is, having the FCC censor or regulate speech according to some inherently vague definition of political intent is not exactly something I want to contemplate. Except, maybe, if we renamed it the Ministry Of Truth, at which point we’d at least know where we’re headed.

    – Besides which, we already have laws and courts for “the people” to take on CBS and Rather on the grounds you mention if they so wish. But for starters, how would you prove to a judge that “influencing the election” was the primary aim of CBS in this instance, as opposed to boosting ratings and ad revenue ? Saying that Rather is ‘biased’, or rants about the ‘liberal media’ are not admissible in court as proof, as far as I know. (Thank God.)

    – Let’s say that Fox News had run with this instead of CBS (and let’s also assume they are a broadcast network, if you want to be nitpicky); we can at least agree that in such a case, higher ratings would seem the most likely motive. Should they be investigated too, or does the outrage only apply when the intent of the broadcast can be construed as political due to the perceived bias of a news organization, as arbitrarily defined by those people with the opposite bias ? I can tell you right now, if it was Fox News down in that smoking hole and the FCC went after them, the very same blog crowd that screams for Rather’s scalp would be outraged by such an unconstitutional intrusion of the government and ‘free speech’ would be the battlecry du jour.

    – Or how about the following scenarion : 1) documents genuinely damaging to Bush are discovered by a major network during the summer 2) they sit on it until December 3) Bush wins. Would you have the FCC go after them in this case as well ? After all, they might have influenced the election by omission, and that can’t be good for the public good either right ?

    – A mistake was made. CBS acknowledged it publicly and its competitors and the rest of the media have made such a fuss about it it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of the affair. The network’s ratings are dropping and since these directly affect how much they can charge advertisers, they’re hurting in the pocketbook to a tune far larger than Rather’s already considerable salary. That’s the best and most appropriate punishment. No need for the FCC. They are feeling the heat and it’s costing them millions.

    – And no, this is not a serious issue with respect to the election. Vietnam and Rather are no more relevant to this election than Cronkite and the Watergate.

    – It is indeed more important than Janet Jackson’s wardrobe problems. (What isn’t ?). But that still doesn’t make it important. Unless, while I was asleep, Congress has set Janet’s boobs and Howard Stern’s sexual proclivities as the standards the FCC must use in judging the relative importance of the problems it deals with.

    – Whatever people think of Kerry’s position on, say, foreign policy – and these days I think he’s lost the already tenuous grasp he had of the question – he is at least out there talking about what matters. In the meantime, half the blogosphere on the other side is demanding Rather’s head.

    – I am not arguing that it is not an important story, as far as media politics go. But at this point, this should definitely be a sideshow. Yet you wouldn’t know that from navigating many political blogs.

    – As for apathy, well, if apathy is not giving a rat’s ass about the future of a rich, aging TV news anchor but, instead, wondering about Iraq, Afghanistan, our foreign policy in the Middle East and economic policy when we are about a month away from a Presidential election then yes, sign me up for apathy.

    I don’t need Rather. I never did. And I don’t care what does or does not happen to him, or what kind of manufactured bullshit CBS wants to broadcast. Hell, they can replace him with Michael Moore, as far as I’m concerned, and watch their ratings and ad revenue drop to a number approximating zero in every major currency.

    It’s their business.


  7. Well we would be getting more truth out but then theres still BROKAW and JENNINGS and BLITZER and the others in the press

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