Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, whose new book Rather Outspoken is due out on Monday, says that his $70 million breach-of-conduct lawsuit against the network was worth it, despite the fact that it was ultimately thrown out.
Rather, who had been the CBS Evening News anchor since 1981, was eased out of the coveted job after a report he did for “60 Minutes II” on President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service.
In the report, which aired in September 2004 during the height of Bush’s re-election campaign, Rather insinuated that Bush was trying to avoid service in Vietnam by pulling strings and using his family’s connections.
Rather based his report primarily on a series of memos whose authenticity was in doubt, but that didn’t deter him from reporting on them as if they were authentic, in an attempt to derail Bush’s re-election in November.
Their authenticity was also called into question by an independent panel commissioned by the network.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Rather remains steadfast in his belief that his story was true.
For those who may not remember the details of this story, and want to test Dan Rather’s thesis regarding the accuracy of his original reporting on the Bush/Texas Air National Guard story, take a look at this AIM Special Report from 2005 by retired Air Force Colonel John Wambough. Rather is attempting to perpetuate a lie, a hoax, a deceit, that cannot withstand scrutiny.
It was that stubbornness that led CBS to remove him from the anchor chair and to his departure from the network the following year.
Rather, now 80, eventually landed at HDNet cable network, which is owned by Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who also owns the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association. Even though Rather has a much smaller audience than he did at CBS, he thinks he is now doing some of the best and most consistent work of his career.
It sounds somewhat similar to Keith Olbermann, except that Rather still has a job.