Saturday, November 29, 2003

Is This The End of Dan Rather?

Today's Drudge Report has as it's headline, "DAN RATHER MAY END ANCHOR RUN NEXT YEAR." It goes on to say, "Executives plot late '04 departure of CBS star... 'After the election, we are looking at changes,' a top network source tells DRUDGE... "


Now, The Corsair has to take this with a pinch of salt as Drudge is well known for dropping the ball on big exclusives (remember the "exclusive" that Eisner and Disney were going to buy Apple Computer?) What a howler in bad reporting. But this could be true, as Drudge has conservative informants high up in the media Establishment, and Rather's retirement would be major news.

Let The Corsair count the ways in which this is a significant development. For one, In 1986, Dan Rather was stalked, pummeled and kicked on a Manhattan sidewalk by a well-dressed man who kept asking "Kenneth, what is the frequency?" On REM's 1994's Monster album, they viciously (deliciously) parodied the line in their single hit of the same name.This bit of trivia, by the way, is a propos of nothing, The Corsair just wanted to find a use for that bit of odd arcana.

Rather has been the most hated man in television news-- the antichrist, if you will, embodying the establishment left. His softball rebuttal-free interview with Sadaam Hussein, a tryant, did not help reconstruct his image in my book.

And Conservatives have some cause for this animus. In April 2001, Dan Rather helped raise $20,000 for the Travis County Democratic Party in Austin, Texas. Howie Kurtz of The Washington Post did a front page story, confronting Rather.

The newsman replied to criticism of his journalistic objectivity (ABC's Jeff Greenfield, for example, once a Democrat, has renounced all partisan activity in the name of journalistic integrity), said he "wouldn't be surprised" if critics use the incident to call him a secret Democrat. "I'm going to get that criticism whether I deserve it or not."

If conservatives are not fans of Rather, I don't see the left coming to his defense. And lefties are very good about aiding people who are defenseless, even after a roughing up by that well dressed man. But in fact they, too, find him unpalatable.
All of this begs the question: if neither the left nor the right feels comfortable in Dan Rather's objectivity, then why is he a Wise Man? The Corsair always thought it had to be the hair ... that, or the nervous beady eyed creepy-unstable look that he pulls off so well.

UPDATE: Dan Rather, responding to the Drudge rumors, says "Hell no, I won't go!"

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