Speaking of fake news

Dan Rather has soldiered on since Rathergate. He has persisted in the face of professional disgrace. Indeed, he has retracted apologies previously offered for the fakery that ended his storied career with CBS News. He rendered the apologies with his fingers crossed behind his back. He didn’t mean them.

In his 2012 memoir Rather Outspoken, Rather stands by the underlying Rathergate story and the fabricated documents on which it was based. He presents himself as a victim rather than a perpetrator. He seethes with hatred for Republicans and conservatives. He pleads guilty only to “putting a true story on the air.” According to Rather, “There is a through-line, a long and slimy filament that connects the ‘murder’ of Vince Foster to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and to the discrediting of the Killian memos.” That “slimy filament” is “a dirty thread” that “stretches all the way .  .  . to the birther movement.”

Variety reports that Rather has teamed with TYT Network’s Young Turks for a weekly half-hour news show focused on “under-reported” stories and analysis. If I may borrow a phrase, what we have here is a long and slimy filament connecting the old Turk to the Young Turks.

This week Rather presents a video “primer” expounding on “fake news” (below). The Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams comments in “Good news! Dan Rather is here to teach you about fake news.” When it comes to “fake news,” Rather raises the problem of the unreliable narrator to impossible proportions. That way madness lies. Laughter is probably the best medicine, as it frequently is.

I take it that Rather’s “primer” was prompted by this week’s freakout — “the freakout over Sinclair,” as David Harsanyi calls it. Harsanyi injects a dose of realism into the freakout.

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