WASHINGTON—Commenting on reports that Dan Rather has blasted a “new journalism order” and patted the media on the back for its coverage of hurricane Katrina, Accuracy in Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid says that the former anchorman is losing his grip on reality and needs to go into permanent retirement.
According to published reports, Rather spoke to the Fordham University School of Law on Monday and broke down emotionally in talking about changes in the journalism business. He fought back tears and his lip was quivering, the stories said.
Kincaid commented, “Rather’s disgust for a ‘new journalism order’ reflects the fact that the big three networks no longer have a monopoly over the information that gets released to the people. Bloggers, cable news, and talk radio challenged his dominance and diminished his audience. Indeed, bloggers exposed his use of fake documents against President Bush.”
The AIM editor said that Rather’s praise of televison coverage of Katrina as an example of being willing “to speak truth to power” demonstrates that he still believes in the kind of advocacy reporting that has discredited the journalism profession. “Coverage of Katrina was embarrassingly infantile, sensational and exploitative,” said Kincaid. “The Bush-bashing coverage, complete with its racial component, was disgraceful.”
Kincaid says the problem, then and now, is yellow journalism. Yellow journalists claim to be speaking for “the people” but have a callous disregard for journalistic ethics and responsibility. “News consumers are the ones who should be crying,” Kincaid said.
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.