Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Celebrating Dan

As CBS ramps up toward the celebration of Dan Rather's final broadcast on The Evening News, we will no doubt be exposed to all of Dan's "glorious" accomplishments and all the history that he has reported to us by being the man on the scene. However, not everyone is quite so impressed with Mr. Rather's career.

Philip Chalk of The Weekly Standard writes:

Eddie Barker, for one, remembers. The news director for CBS's radio and TV affiliates in Dallas at the time of President Kennedy's November 22, 1963, assassination, Barker is widely credited with first reporting on the air that the president was dead, having received word through a doctor acquaintance directly from the hospital ER. Rather, then based in Dallas as a reporter for CBS's national news broadcast and working out of Barker's newsroom, later took credit for the scoop, Barker says. The error is repeated in historical accounts often enough to annoy the now-retired Barker, though he says the falsehood was later acknowledged by Rather.

But that wasn't the lie that got Rather out of local news in Dallas and an eventual promotion to New York. No, Dan Rather is a bolder and more aggressive journalist than that. In a live feed to New York, bypassing his local editor, Rather interviewed a local minister and reported that children at Dallas's University Park Elementary School had cheered when told of the president's death. Nothing of the sort ever happened.

Approached earlier by the same minister with what was a second-hand account, Barker himself had run the story by the school's principal and some teachers, all of whom denied it outright. Because of the shooting, which took place at 12:30 p.m., the principal had decided to close the school early, though without telling the students why. The children at the school--including three of Barker's own--were merely happy to be going home early, he was told. There couldn't have been any spontaneous cheering at the news of Kennedy's murder, because no such news had been announced.

Will they mention in "Ode to Dan" that his attempted hatchet job of former Senator Bob Kerry was fabricated as well? And they say they are going to include Memogate, but how much culpability will actually be laid at the feet of poor St. Dan.

You know what, as much as I believe that the MSM is left leaning I still like Tom Brokaw. And Dan Rather, you're no Tom Brokaw.

UPDATE: Thomas Sowell writes on 3/11/05 of Dan Rather's departure:

Those who believe this might dig into the records of the CBS News broadcast of March 27, 1991, when Dan Rather said: "A startling number of American children are in danger of starving" because "one out of eight American children is going hungry tonight."

This was a crock -- but it was a fashionable crock on the left at that time and Dan Rather not only echoed but amplified a ridiculous "study" done by leftist activists. He probably didn't set out to tell a lie then any more than he did when he relied on forged documents to try to "get" President Bush on the eve of last year's election.


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