Dan Rather did not make it to his scheduled Bill O Reilly appearance this week, but he did manage to make it to a book signing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night.
Rather, who is 81-years-old, has covered some of the most intense and profound events of US history such as Martin Luther King, the assassination of JFK and the Watergate scandal.
Rather subsequently sued CBS for $70 million, claiming he was the scapegoat for the scandal. However his suit was dismissed by several courts, which led to the publication of Rather’s tell-all book “Rather Outspoken.”
Rather was in DC Thursday to promote the book, which hit stores Monday.
When Rather was asked why he ran the story even after he had already been labeled a partisan journalist, he simply said, “Because it was true.” He also said, “You are what your record is.” After explaining the timeline of his life since he was a small child he said, “Does this sound like the record of a communist, socialist, liberal?
“I didn’t realize this was the beginning of the end for me,” Rather recollected. Four producers involved were fired, and Rather retired shortly after what many refer to as “Rathergate.” During his book talk Rather blamed CBS for the affair instead of taking personal responsibility for his mistake, saying, “they did not want to own the story,” and that, “CBS News was unprepared for a campaign altercation.”
He went into further blame game mode by claiming Bush “couldn’t attack the basis of the truth of the story.”
“They took the emphasis off of if the story was true and focused on the documents,” he said.
Partisan people will attack news that they don’t agree with, Rather accused.
Rather also attacked the entire television news industry claiming “entertainment values have overthrown news values.”
He said he thinks that if someone were to “suggest to cover Afghanistan or Sudan for the primetime news, you would either be sent to a mental institute or asked what you’re smoking.”
It is clear Rather holds resentment towards his former vocation.
“Large news corporations need things out of Washington and Washington needs things from the news corporations,” he told the audience.
Rather advised reporters covering presidential campaigns to ask, “Who is giving what money to whom in expecting to get what?”