SPECIAL EDITION: On Dan Rather's 20th Anniversary as Anchor, His Most Obnoxious Liberal Advocacy. Plus:
1) "20 Years of Liberal Spin from Gunga Dan." A
collection of 21 examples of Dan Rather's liberal advocacy as
distributed today in a two-page "Media Reality Check" fax
report. Five years ago Rather promised, "you can sooner expect a tall
talking broccoli stick to offer to mow your lawn for free" than
expect to find him still in the anchor chair after the year 2000.
2) BONUS for CyberAlert readers: Another set of quotes
from Rather culled from the MRC's bias library.
3) Another bonus for CyberAlert readers: The wackiest
"Ratherisms" from the past decade.
marks Dan Rather's 20th year as anchor of the CBS Evening News, a post he
assumed in March of 1981. So today the text of a special two-page Media
Reality Check distributed by fax titled, "20 Years of Liberal Spin
From Gunga Dan; Rather in '99: 'I Remained an Independent Reporter Who
Would Not Report From the Left or the Right.'"
The MRC's Rich Noyes compiled the quotes and
collated them into the printed issue which you can see online as fax
recipients saw it by accessing the Adobe Acrobat PDF version: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/pdf/fax0308.pdf
Thanks to MRC Webmaster Andy Szul, the HTML online
version of the Media Reality Check includes RealPlayer video of six of
Rather's quotes. To watch them, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/Fax20010308.html
In the reprint of the text below I've added, in
[brackets], links to lengthier excerpts of some of the listed Rather
Rich opened the Media Reality Check by explaining:
"Five years ago, Dan Rather told the Los Angeles Times 'you
can sooner expect a tall talking broccoli stick to offer to mow your lawn
for free' than expect to find him still in the anchor chair after
the year 2000. But he's still there, and on Friday, two full decades
will have passed since the idiosyncratic Rather succeeded Walter Cronkite
as anchor of the CBS Evening News, now the nation's third-rated
evening newscast. To mark the occasion, this special 2-page Media
Reality Check documents a few of the many liberal outbursts that have
animated Rather's tenure."
Before we get to the rest of the text, the pull-out
quotes from Rather featured on the first and second pages of the fax. On
the front page:
"The new Republican majority in Congress took a
big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government
aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor." --
CBS Evening News, March 16, 1995
And on the second page, a contrast showing how
Rather greeted both parties with liberal spin:
"In the presidential campaign, the official
announce-ment and first photo-op today of Republican George Bush and his
running mate Richard Cheney. Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as
quote 'two Texas oilmen' because Cheney was chief of a big
Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate. They also blast Cheney's voting
record in Congress as again, quote, 'outside the American mainstream'
because of Cheney's votes against the Equal Rights for Women Amendment,
against a woman's right to choose abortion -- against abortion as Cheney
prefers to put it -- and Cheney's votes against gun control. Republicans
see it all differently, most of them hailing Bush's choice and
Cheney's experience." -- CBS Evening News, July 25, 2000
"Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore
officially introduced his history-making running mate today, Senator
Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. History-making because Lieberman is of
Jewish heritage and faith. The two started running right away. In their
first joint appearance they gave a preview of the Gore-Lieberman
fight-back, come-back strategy. Their message: They represent the future,
not the past, and they are the ticket of high moral standards most in tune
with real mainstream America." -- CBS Evening News, August 8,
Go to the online version of the Media Reality Check
(address above) to view these videos side-by-side:
Now the text of the March 8 Media Reality Check:
-- Republicans favor sleazy fundraising. "Republicans kill the
bill to clean up sleazy political fundraising. The business of dirty
campaign money will stay business as usual....Good evening. Legislation to
reform shady big money campaign fundraising is dead in Congress.
Republican opponents in the Senate killed it today." (CBS Evening
News, February 26, 1998)
-- Hillary Clinton is a genius. "I hear you talking and, as I have
before on this subject, I don't know of anybody, friend or foe, who
isn't impressed by your grasp of the details of this [health care] plan.
I'm not surprised, because you have been working on it so long and
listened to so many people." (Interview with Hillary Clinton, 48
Hours, September 22, 1993)
-- Justice Souter is a right-wing woman-hater. "Senator Simon, is
there any doubt in your mind that [Souter's] views pretty well parallel
those of John Sununu's, which means he's anti-abortion or
anti-women's rights, whichever way you want to put it?" (CBS
Evening News interview with Democratic Sen. Paul Simon, July 23, 1990)
-- The Clintons are terrific! "If we could be one-hundredth as
great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House,
we'd take it right now and walk away winners....Tell Mrs. Clinton we
respect her and we're pulling for her." (To President Clinton, via
satellite, at a CBS affiliates meeting, referencing new co-anchor Connie
Chung to the Evening News, May 27, 1993)
-- No need for proof before alleging GOP dirty tricks. "Al Gore
must stand and deliver here tonight as the Democratic Party's
presidential nominee, and now Gore must do so against the backdrop of a
potentially damaging, carefully orchestrated story leak about President
Clinton. The story is that the Republican-backed special prosecutor,
Robert Ray, Ken Starr's successor, has a new grand jury looking into
possible criminal charges against the President growing out of Mr.
Clinton's sex life." (CBS Evening News, August 17, 2000, the
final day of the Democratic convention. The next day, a Carter-appointed
federal judge revealed he had inadvertently leaked the news)
[For more detail about Rather's bad reporting and a
video clip: http://archive.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000821.html#4]
-- Competitors to CBS News are morally inferior. "It is not just
Congress that is taking a sharp turn to the right. The surge to the right
on Capitol Hill is making waves all over the country on openly politically
partisan, and sometimes racist, radio." (CBS Evening News,
January 4, 1995)
-- Hillary Clinton should run for President someday. "I would not
be astonished to see Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee in
2000....Hillary Clinton is the Person of the Year in that, you talk about
a comeback kid -- she makes her husband look like Ned in kneepants in
terms of comeback from where she was early in the Clinton administration.
You know, you add it all up, and you can make the case that Hillary
Clinton might, might -- mark the word -- be the strongest candidate for
the Democrats." (Interview with CNN's Larry King, December 3, 1998)
-- Castro really cares about the Cuban people. "While Fidel
Castro, and certainly justified on his record, is widely criticized for a
lot of things, there is no question that Castro feels a very deep and
abiding connection to those Cubans who are still in Cuba and, I recognize
this might be controversial, but there's little doubt in my mind that
Fidel Castro was sincere when he said, 'Listen, we really want this
child back here.'" (CBS News live coverage of the Elian raid, April
-- George W. Bush didn't really win the election. "Good evening.
Texas Governor George Bush tonight will assume the mantle and the honor of
President-elect. This comes 24 hours after a sharply split and, some say,
politically and ideologically motivated Supreme Court ended Vice President
Gore's contest of the Florida election and, in effect, handed the
presidency to Bush." (CBS Evening News, Dec. 13, 2000)
[For more on Rather's coverage that night and a video
-- Democrats are uncaring if they back conservative policies. "You
said this morning that the party's message will focus on the needs and
cares of the people. Now, how do you reconcile that with a President who
has just signed a, quote, 'welfare reform bill' which by general
agreement is going to put a lot of poor children on the street?"
(Question to Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, CBS Evening News, August
-- Republicans are radicals and extremists. "Some of your staff
members, not by name, have been saying, 'Yes, the President thinks Bob
Dole is a nice person and has been a pretty good leader in some ways
but,' they say, 'he's been captured by extremists in the Republican
Party, the radical part of the Republican Party, including Newt Gingrich.
Is that what you think?" (60 Minutes interview with Bill
Clinton, Aug. 18, 1996)
-- Hillary Clinton is fantastic. "Once a political lightning rod,
today she is political lightning. A crowd pleaser and first-class
fundraiser, a person under enormous pressure to step into the arena, this
time on her own." (60 Minutes II, May 26, 1999)
[For lengthy quotations of Rather fawning over Hillary
in this interview and to watch a RealPlayer video clip, go to:
-- The Reagan years were unfair. "Everyone knows the rich got
richer in the 1980s. Now, a new study shows how dramatic the change
was." (Reporting on a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a group
founded by Dukakis and Clinton advisors, CBS Evening News, Oct. 29,
-- The impeachment case against Clinton amounted to a coup d'etat.
"Is or is there not some concern of the public, concern in some
quarters, not all of them Democratic, that this is, in fact, a kind of
effort at a quote, 'coup,' that is you have a twice elected, popularly
elected President of the United States and so those that you mention in
the Republican Party who dislike him and what he stands for, have been
unable to beat him at the polls, have found another way to get him out of
office?" (Interview with former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman, CBS
coverage of the start of the impeachment trial, January 7, 1999)
-- Criticizing gays is as bad as fighting communism. "Gays and
lesbians are beaten to death in the streets with increasing frequency -
in part due to irrational fear of AIDS but also because hatemongers, from
comedians to the worst of the Christian right, send the message that
homosexuals have no value in our society....In the post-cold-war era, gays
have been drafted to replace communists as the new menace to the American
Way: We're told gays corrupt youth and commandeer art and entertainment
to win converts." (Writing in The Nation, April 11, 1994)
-- I am not biased. "I'm all news, all the time. Full power,
tall tower. I want to break in when news breaks out. That's my agenda.
Now, respectfully, when you start talking about a liberal agenda and all
the, quote, 'liberal bias' in the media, I quite frankly, and I say
this respectfully but candidly to you, I don't know what you're
talking about." (Interview with Denver radio station KOA's Mike
Rosen, November 28, 1995)
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
precludes running more than a few additional policy bias quotes from
Rather (meaning non-"Ratherisms"), but as a CyberAlert bonus
here are a few more of my favorites. On Friday I'll probably distribute
++ Rather's infamous interview with 41. "You've made us hypocrites
in the face of the world."
-- Dan Rather, to Vice President George Bush, in reference to the
Iran-Contra scandal during an interview on the CBS Evening News, January
To view a RealPlayer excerpt from this 1988 interview
as well as a contrast with how Rather approached Bill Clinton in 1999, go
++ Gorbachev's great eyes. "He has, as many
great leaders have, impressive eyes...There's a kind of laser-beam stare,
a forced quality, you get from Gorbachev that does not come across as
something peaceful within himself. It's the look of a kind of human
volcano, or he'd probably like to describe it as a human nuclear energy
-- Dan Rather on Mikhail Gorbachev, quoted in the May 10, 1990 Seattle
++ Clinton and Bush abortion executive order
contrasts. "On the anniversary of Roe versus Wade President Clinton
fulfills a promise, supporting abortion rights....It was 20 years ago
today, the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark abortion
rights ruling, and the controversy hasn't stopped since. Today, with the
stroke of a pen, President Clinton delivered on his campaign promise to
cancel several anti-abortion regulations of the Reagan-Bush years."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Jan. 22, 1993.
"This was President Bush's first day at the office and
he did something to quickly please the right flank in his party: He
re-instituted an anti-abortion policy that had been in place during his
father's term and the Reagan presidency but was lifted during the
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Jan. 22, 2001
++ Conservatives can't use their own name.
"The head of the Republican political lobbying group that calls
itself, quote, 'the Christian Coalition' said today he's leaving to start
a political consulting business. Ralph Reed's group took a beating on some
of its hard-right agenda in the last election."
-- Dan Rather, April 23, 1997 CBS Evening News.
++ Ending affirmative action like spreading
syphilis. "Earlier tonight, we reported the President's apology for
medical experiments that allowed black Americans to die of syphilis. The
President noted how badly this hurt public trust in government, especially
among minorities. The same criticism is being made today on another score.
As CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, it's the fallout from
California's voter-approved ban on state affirmative action
-- Dan Rather introducing May 16, 1997 CBS Evening News story on drop in
++ Republican haters from the far right. "On
another front, there could be trouble for the Ken Starr Whitewater
investigation. Reports continue to surface that this key witness for the
prosecution, David Hale, may have been secretly bankrolled by political
activists widely regarded as Clinton opponents, people that Clinton
supporters call Republican haters from the far right."
-- Dan Rather, April 2 1998 CBS Evening News.
++ "On one bit of campaign meanness and
nastiness in particular, George Bush now says he's sorry his gutter
language and personal attack was picked up by a microphone at a campaign
stop yesterday, but he refuses to apologize for the substance of his
comment. Bush's remark was about Adam Clymer, a New York Times reporter
whose coverage he doesn't like."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Sept. 5, 2000.
++ "You may want to note that Cheney is
referring to Clinton Gore, not Clinton and Gore, in effect making Clinton
Al Gore's first name: Clinton Gore."
-- Dan Rather during Dick Cheney's acceptance speech after Cheney
said "We're all a little weary of the Clinton-Gore routine...it is
time for them to go," August 2, 2000 CBS News Republican convention
++ Florida's Secretary of State has no legal authority?
"Florida's Republican Secretary of State is
about to announce the winner -- as she sees it and she decrees it -- of
the state's potentially decisive 25 electoral votes."
"The believed certification -- as the Republican
Secretary of State sees it."
"She will certify -- as she sees it -- who gets
Florida's 25 electoral votes."
"The certification -- as the Florida Secretary of
State sees it and decrees it -- is being signed."
-- Dan Rather live on CBS News, November 26 2000.
To view a video of these comments as shown by the
Fox News Channel, go to:
For more quotes from Rather that night, go to:
Wow. So little space. I still have at least another
two dozen outrageous Rather quotes. So, look for more in the next
or as those inside CBS News call them, "Danisms," collected by
the MRC over the years. Enjoy:
++ "Let's go down to Texas and let me show you
actual votes in and tabulated. This was a race considered so nasty it
would gag a buzzard....This race is so close that everybody's having a
4,000-calorie attack down there."
-- CBS News election night coverage, November 6, 1990.
++ "I wouldn't touch that line with a 12-foot
pole, which as you know is a pole I reserve for those things that I
certainly wouldn't touch with an 11-foot pole."
-- Rather's response to whether he had a favorite candidate for President,
election night 1990.
++ "Now, walking down the red-carpeted
staircase, President Bush, President Gorbachev, with Gorbachev's
interpreter in between. You can just see at the top of your picture that
huge chandelier, almost 4,000 pounds. It's the older sister of all
-- Dan Rather before START treaty signing ceremony, July 31, 1991.
++ "Stay with CBS now for more news, including:
Is there a pall over the mall as holiday shoppers think small?"
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, December 2, 1991.
++ "It will be so exciting as to make the wax
pop out of your ears."
"There's material here that will make their fingernails sweat."
"Texas...another of the so-called big enchiladas, or if not an
enchilada, at least a huge taco."
"This woman has gotten a very bad rap, Hillary Clinton. It is true
that she's smart. She didn't go to school just to eat her lunch."
"While the Clinton-Gore campaign was as unstoppable as say, a
-- Dan Rather during 1992 election night coverage.
++ "I'd like to leave you with the words of
that popular, secular, patriotic hymn: 'Long may our land be bright with
freedom's holy light.'"
-- Rather, approaching tears at 2am EST on election night 1992.
++ "Mr. Clinton was about as relaxed as a pound
-- Referring to his earlier interview with Clinton, January 20, 1993 CBS
++ "If an American inauguration can't bring a
lump to your throat and a tear to your eye, if you don't feel as corny as
Kansas in August, maybe you need a jump-start and some vitamins."
-- Dan Rather during inauguration coverage, January 20, 1993.
++ "Well, in Texas they have a saying:
'That's a good way for Momma to drive a Cadillac,' which is a way of
saying that if you play with one of these things, particularly if you are
in a low-water area. I would say, Harry, this morning there must be lot of
people who are in that
let's-have-another-cup-of-coffee-and-not-worry-about-it stage. And I agree
with that. That's the stage to be in."
-- Dan Rather with CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith, as Hurricane
Emily approached on August 30, 1993.
++ "Double T trouble. T is for Thelma, T is for
Tennessee, and T is for big trouble tonight."
"A lot of tight Senate races out there. Let's hit
those chips with another dash of salsa, Ed Bradley."
-- Dan Rather during CBS News 1994 election night coverage.
"In New Hampshire, closest Senate race in the
country, this race between Dick Swett and Bob Smith is hot and tight as a
too small bathing suit on a too long car ride back from the beach."
-- Dan Rather during CBS News 1996 election night coverage.
++ "I think you're more likely to see the Pope
ride through this room on a giraffe."
-- Dan Rather, on the possibility of a CBS News cable channel, to
Philadelphia Inquirer TV writer Gail Shister, February 18, 1997
++ "Ken Starr and his people have been working
for three to four years, spent more than $30 million, they've used
dozens if not a hundred or so FBI agents. They may have turned this up,
whether you had the Paula Jones case or not. But again maybe not, but
again that's like if a frog had side pockets he'd probably wear a
handgun. It didn't happen that way."
-- Dan Rather, February 5, 1998 Late Show with David Letterman.
++ "Democrats and Republicans are nervous as
pigs in a packing plant over these returns because the polls have closed
and we don't know the results....Now, if you're in those states where
the polls are open, let me encourage you to vote. And of course, if
you're in a state where the polls are closed, let me encourage you not
to vote. It's illegal."
-- Dan Rather ending the November 3, 1998 Evening News.
++ "Charles Schumer is one of the stunners of the
night. This race was as hot and squalid as a New York elevator in
"The call is just in for the South Carolina Senate race.
This was one of the cardiac arrest time races. This thing was nasty enough
to gag a buzzard. But it turns out that Fritz Hollings, the veteran
Democratic Senator, has held on to win."
-- Rather during CBS News's election night 1998 coverage.
++ "Now Florida, that race, that race, the heat
from it is hot enough to peel house paint."
"I can hear some people at home saying, 'Whooh!
If the electoral vote count is now what Dan Rather and CBS News says it
is, 121 for Bush, 119 for Gore, it seems to me just a few minutes ago Bush
had a long lead.' His lead has evaporated and been melted faster than
ice cream in a microwave, what's happening here?"
"Now remember Florida is the state where Jeb Bush,
the brother of George Bush is the Governor, and you can bet that Governor
Bush will be madder than a rained on rooster that his brother the Governor
wasn't able to carry this state for him."
"Bush has had a lead since the very start, but his
lead is now shakier than cafeteria Jell-O."
"Then in Tennessee, now Al Gore may be as cross as
a snapping turtle about this Tennessee situation because it's his home
"Bush is sweeping through the South like a tornado
through a trailer park."
"Pennsylvania drops for Gore, 23 electoral votes,
and for the first time tonight, mark it, if you're in the kitchen, Mabel,
come back in the front room, 145 for Gore, 130 for Bush, 270 needed
"His [Gore's] chance are slim right now, and if
he doesn't carry Florida, slim will have left town."
"The presidential race still hotter than a Laredo
"I have to say, though, and I don't mean to be
flip about it, that I think you are more likely to see a hippopotamus
coming running through this room than you are to see Governor Bush appoint
Nader to the Cabinet."
"Sip it, savor it, cup it, photostat it, underline
it in red, put it in the album, hang it on the wall, George Bush is the
next President of the United States."
-- CBS News coverage of election night 2000.
That's all for the wackiest "Ratherisms."
So much bias, so little space.
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