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Paul Hayden

Dan Would Rather Sue than Face the Truth

September 24, 2007

In America, land of the free and the litigators, it should come as no surprise that egomaniacal ex-newsman (and I use that term loosely) Dan Rather has decided to sue his former patron, CBS News, for a cool $70 million because they allegedly forced him out without sufficient cause. Oh well. I suppose Rather has a better chance of winning than the Nebraska legislator who is suing God.

The truth is, if there's any justifiable lawsuit involving Rather, it would be directed at him by President Bush for slander or defamation of character. Unfortunately for the president (although in his Christian charity he'd never sue anyway), being the mega-public figure he is means that people can say pretty much what they want about him, short of death threats. That freedom should not, however, extend to news reporters who are supposed to maintain some standard of balance.

The despicable lengths to which Rather went to falsely discredit Bush's National Guard service prior to the 2004 election surpassed anything even the most biased news anchors have ever done to attempt destroying a Republican and/or conservative candidate (Bush being decidedly the former). Even Rather's mentor, the venerable (and biased) Walter Cronkite, must have been given pause at the stretches and leaps from truth and objectivity his former understudy took to bring a president down. After all, Cronkite had far better masqueraded his still-mighty but ill-fated effort to get Richard Nixon defeated in 1972.

Of course, in Rather's world, it was the big, bad, intimidating Bush Administration (excuse me while I collapse on the floor laughing) that forced his bosses' hands in letting him go as the nightly news anchor, and then shutting down his role on the weeknight edition of "60 Minutes" which was supposed to showcase Dan at his crusading best. Funny how Rather's crusades were always about some alleged controversy that made Republicans/conservatives look bad.

As Bernard Goldberg noted in his best-selling book, Bias, Rather has an enormous blind spot when it comes to seeing his own. When Goldberg ran an opinion piece calling out Rather's clearly liberal bias in the Wall Street Journal in 1996-he had made highly insulting remarks about Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes on his newscast-Rather came unglued. Rather's boss, Andrew Heyward, came even more unglued than Dan, which was going some. As Goldberg tried to calm Heyward by telling him that at least he had not mentioned Heyward's own admission of liberal bias in his column, Heyward's hysterical response was, "That would have been like raping my wife and kidnapping my kids!" Ah, the liberal mentality.

Rather's own temper tantrum at Goldberg revealed much about that mentality. Instead of denying his liberal bias, Rather changed the subject and spoke forcefully of his service in the Marine Corps. The implication was, how dare you question how I report the news and, by extension, my patriotic American bona fides? In Rather's world, as long as he could prove he was a patriot, he could be as biased as he wanted to be. Of course, Dan calls that "independent journalism." Many people actually buy this line-a popular Detroit talk-show host claims that Rather was forced out because he was too old, nothing more. That's why liberals can get away with calling Fox News a "right-wing" network when in fact it's as close to balanced as we're likely to get in this lifetime.

The way in which CBS News treated Goldberg in the wake of his "emperor has no clothes" opinion piece is also instructive. He was totally ostracized and then forced out by the elites who ran (and still run) the news division, simply for pointing out a truth that to any fair-minded person was as obvious as the nose on Jimmy Durante's face. This is the strategy liberal elitists employ not only to ostracize but to build their own image by, as Goldberg put it, ripping their accusers. No one has learned this better than Bill and Hillary Clinton and their many minions, who have elevated it to an art form. And since the media elites buy into this strategy for themselves, they are certainly sympathetic to their political friends who employ it as well. That is one reason why Harry Reid can call the president a "loser" and "the worst president in our history" with impunity. The insult strategy works as long as you're not called on it. Ironically enough, Republicans are called "attack dogs" and worse when they dare to criticize programs not people, to wit Hillary's latest designer health care "plan," since in the liberal mentality you cannot criticize a liberal without calling into question their patriotism, personhood, etc.

Dan Rather wrote a self-aggrandizing memoir some years ago entitled, "The Camera Never Blinks." Dan needs to learn that these days, neither do the new media in their search for the truth-something that Rather spent most of his career conveniently ignoring. In the end, even his liberal bosses at CBS couldn't overlook that simple fact. And that-not his age, not Bush Administration pressure-is what cost him his job. Period.

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Copyright ©2007 Phil Perkins