Friday, June 03, 2005

Dan Rather on Larry King Live - a Retrospective

Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueThe revelation that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat" has been a highly entertaining experience. Most notably, it's brought about the nostalgic triumphalism of the mainstream media, wounded of late by the Rather, Jordan, Blair, et. al. affairs.

In 'celebration' of the Felt disclosure, Dan Rather reemerged from a self-imposed exile by visiting the Larry King Live show. Contrary to conventional wisdom, King didn't just throw softballs at the GIF-impaired journalist. He came to play (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt).

My smart-aleck remarks are interspersed throughout.

KING: Do you think the Republicans, the right-wing Republicans were after you?

RATHER: No. Again, I'm not a victim of anything. I don't say, no, they weren't. I don't know.

Ed: Uhmmm, wha....?

KING: ...what went wrong in your [story] on the Air National Guard story?

RATHER: Without agreeing with the premise of whether it snapped or not...

Ed: Oh, Dan... it snapped. It snapped you right out of your anchor chair... and right out of a job. Yes, I'd say it snapped.

KING: Well, I don't know another word. You might still believe the story, by the way.

RATHER: Well, without getting into that because the panel, this panel that was chosen by CBS to look into it, they issued their report... I absorbed it...

The situation that we had and still have is the last line of this has not been written.

Ed: Oh, for the love of... He still believes that the memos were real. Next, maybe he'll break a story on Elvis' evil twin, who was cloned by Colonel Parker.

RATHER: ...we don't know whether the documents were fraudulent or not.

The Smoking Memos (LGF)

KING: Are you saying the story might be correct?

RATHER: Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view.

Ed: Given that definition, a 'prudent person' might also believe himself capable of hitting a home-run in Yankee Stadium with a breadstick from Olive Garden.

RATHER: ...This much we know: Journalism is not a precise science.

Ed: (breaking down in conniption fits of laughter)

KING: You have been holding a piece of paper in front of you for half an hour, and you better tell me what it is.

RATHER: Well, I appreciate the opportunity, Larry. That CBS News played a role in this Watergate story -- nothing to compare with "The Washington Post" role...

...the whole power of the executive branch was to isolate "The Post," say it's just "The Post." You know, not have it break out to be a national story, and they did not want it on national network television.

And they almost succeeded in keeping it off. But Dick Salant, who was former president of CBS News, he was president at that time, that he wrote something, and if you had time, it's not a bad way to close the hour...

"I strongly believe that responsible journalism cannot have as its central objective giving people what they want, or avoiding displeasing them. The objective must not be merely to interest and titillate to grab an audience, but to provide the information they need. And, so, if journalism is to perform the function which a democratic society has a right to expect, there will inevitably be some, usually the most vocal, who will be displeased."

Ed: Here's another one, Dan. Pay close attention.

The primary duty of journalists and news organizations is to seek the truth and report it as fully as possible...

The second guiding principle is Independence. If we are to succeed in our pursuit of truth, we must not be deterred by outside forces that could undermine our professionalism or erode the quality and integrity of our finished product. We must vigorously guard our credibility and insure that we are not unduly influenced by those who might use their power or position to keep us from serving the public.

Sounds like you get a big, fat, red F on both counts, Daniel.

CNN: CNN LARRY KING LIVE - Interview With Dan Rather

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