More evidence that Dan Rather has clinched his status as a national laughingstock can be found in this column by Charles Lane of the Washington Post editorial board. Lane was once the editor of The New Republic and in that capacity (as recounted in the movie “Shattered Glass”) had to clean up the mess created by the phony stories of Stephen Glass. Fabricated reporting, in short, does not appeal to him.
Not that Lane has lost his sense of humor. He reports:
I have obtained new documentary evidence regarding Dan Rather’s relationship with his former bosses at CBS News. Obviously, I cannot identify my source. But he told me during a collect call from Sofia, Bulgaria, that he has access to Rather’s “personal files” and that his typewriter was built after 1966. To authenticate the document, I showed it to some of my kids’ friends, and they said it was awesome.
[T]here is another document making the rounds that suggests that Dan Rather is actually bitter at his former employers. I am referring to the 32-page “lawsuit” in which Rather purportedly accuses various chieftains at CBS of “coercing” him into a false apology for the National Guard broadcast and then muzzling him and starving him of airtime to please the White House.
Clearly, this “lawsuit” is a forgery — and a pretty crude one at that.
No man in Rather’s position would admit that he could be made to apologize for a story he believed was true. A straight-shooting newsman like Dan Rather would have resigned rather than obey an order to lie to the public.
No sensible person would allege that CBS’s investigation of the National Guard story was both hopelessly biased because it was led by George H.W. Bush’s former attorney general and that the investigation “exonerated” Rather.
No sane individual would start a legal battle that could result in his being deposed under oath about his own conduct at the network over 44 rocky years.
Finally, no one in his right mind would keep insisting that those phony documents are real and that the Bush National Guard story is true.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dan Rather, it is that he’s a perfectly reasonable guy. Otherwise, CBS News would never have put him in the anchor’s chair in the first place. And he sat there for 24 years.