Lesson to Dan Rather: Report Donâ€™t Become The News
The Bush National Guard memos, the most famous forgeries since the Hitler Diaries, have left CBS' Dan Rather embarrassed and scraping egg off his face again. It is important to note, however, that just as the exposure of the Hitler hoax didn't exonerate the Fuhrer of the Holocaust, the revelation of this recent ruse doesn't resolve any suspicions about the President's dereliction of his military duty.
But instead of investigative reporters digging into the President's past, we have once again witnessed the predictable phenomenon of the easily manipulated media focusing on Rather, an anchorman who has a long history of making, "Rather" than reporting, the news. More than any other journalist of our time, even the shamelessly self-promoting Geraldo, he has managed to make a distraction of himself by upstaging story after story.
Who can forget 1988, when he awkwardly engaged George Bush, Sr. in an on air debate which improperly turned personal? Or 1986, when Dan claimed to have been assaulted on the streets of New York City by a stranger demanding to know, "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Even when he's simply sitting in the studio, Ratherâ€™s desperate need for attention has him speaking in colorful Ratherisms, such as, "Hotter than a freshly forged horseshoe," and "If a frog had pockets, he'd carry a handgun."
Like the Forrest Gump of journalism, there's Rather, an unwitting participant seemingly at the center of every defining moment in history. In 1980, during the Soviet War with Afghanistan, there he was, Gunga Dan, on the front lines with the mujahedeen, and in the get-up of an Islamic freedom fighter. He also made front-page news over there, when an Afghan newspaper accused him of stoning three innocent villagers to death.
In 1977, Rather described an occasion on which he scared-off a burglar with a shotgun: "I stepped out of the bedroom on the second floor and shouted into the darkness, 'I don't know who you are or what you want, but if you don't get the hell out of here I'm going to blow your ass off. And if you don't believe me, listen to this.' With that I rammed a shell into the chamber of a shotgun. There is no mistaking that sound. Within seconds the intruders, or whatever they were, had fled."
All these dubious myths are merely the tip of the iceberg. For if you heard all the tall tales that this twangy Texan has spun about being mugged, tear-gassed, threatened, punched, pummeled, pistol-whipped, kidnapped, and injected with heroin, you'd think that he'd have less chance of making it to 72 years of age than a one-legged man has of winning an ass-kicking contest.
Attorney Williams is a member of the NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA & US Supreme Court bars
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