Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

DAN RATHER LAWSUIT

I’ve always liked Dan Rather. And as one of his many
admirers, I was pained by his treatment at the hands of
the elders of CBS. Dan and his wife, Jean, are gracious,
lovely people, and they have been supporters of the
Broadcasters Foundation of America. Dan’s eloquent and
heartfelt tribute to his CBS colleague Tony Malara will be
found in this book’s Part IV. This is the commentary I
broadcast about Dan Rather’s reporting controversy on
September 26, 2007.

Dan Rather spent a lifetime reporting to the American people. During a long and illustrious career, no one ever accused the CBS anchor of a lack of sincerity or integrity. Why should we think otherwise when he has taken legal action against his former network? Mr. Rather may have been unintentionally inaccurate from time to time. But so have we all.

Dan Rather has always been innocent of deception. Thus, if he truly believes his network was unfair, unjust, or inaccurate in the aftermath of the Texas Air National Guard episode, then he has every right to speak out. He is, in effect, saying, “They’re not telling the truth,” a cause he has pursued his entire life and the basis of his reputation.

Mr. Rather is also implying that TV networks, as powerful instruments in our society, have an obligation to tell the truth. He believes his former employer lied about his role in the flawed exposé about the president’s National Guard experience, and then exploited him as a scapegoat.

I think he wants more than personal vindication. Rather, this is just Rather being Rather, on a quest for the truth in whatever forum he can find.

On the other hand, Lou Boccardi, the co-chair of the CBS investigation with former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, is a Westchester neighbor and an upstanding individual.

-112-

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