Rather Lame Denials of Bias
“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.”
-- Dan Rather to Denver KOA’s Mike Rosen, November 28, 1995.
“The test is not the names people call you or accusations by political activists inside or outside your own organization. The test is what goes up on the screen and what comes out of the speaker. I think the public understands that those people are trying to create such a perception because they’re trying to force you to report the news the way they want you to report it. I am not going to do it. I will put up billboard space on 42nd Street. I will wear a sandwich board. I will do whatever is necessary to say I am not going to be cowed by anybody’s special political agenda, inside, outside, upside, downside.”
-- Dan Rather, concerning CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg’s charge that the networks have a liberal bias,
New York Post, March 6, 1996.
Liberal Bias? ‘Bullfeathers!’
“Well, my answer to that is basically a good Texas phrase, which is bullfeathers.... I think the fact that if someone survives for four or five years at or near the top in network television, you can just about bet they are pretty good at keeping independence in their reporting. What happens is a lot of people don’t want independence. They want the news reported the way they want it for their own special political agendas or ideological reasons.”
-- On CNN’s Larry King Live, March 11, 1996.
“I do believe in what’s become an archaic word for journalists, objectivity. You know my job is to be accurate, be fair, and in so far as it’s humanly possible, to keep my feelings out of every story... I do agree that one test of a reporter is how often he or she is able to keep their emotions out of what they are doing and keep their own biases and agendas out of it.”
-- Dan Rather, on CNBC’s Tim Russert, September 20, 1997.
‘An Honest Broker of Information’
Bill Press: “Why is it that you are the epitome of the left-wing liberal media in the mind of every conservative I’ve ever talked to? What did you do to get that reputation?”
Dan Rather: “I remained an independent reporter who would not report the news the way they wanted it or -- from the left or the right. I’m a lifetime reporter. All I ever dreamed of was being a journalist, and the definition of journalist to me was the guy who’s an honest broker of information. ...I do subscribe to the idea of: ‘Play no favorites and pull no punches.’”
-- On CNN’s Crossfire, June 24, 1999.
Not ‘A Bomb-Throwing Bolshevik’
Geraldo Rivera: “What I can’t figure out is why you rub the right so wrong. What is it about you that generates such ferocious criticism from one side of the American political spectrum?”
Rather: “I think the tag, you know, somehow or another, ‘he’s a bomb-throwing Bolshevik from the left side’ that’s attached to me, is put there by people who, they subscribe to the idea either you report the news the way we want you to report it, or we’re gonna’ tag some, what we think negative sign on you. There are people in the world that way, that, you know, part of growing up is to recognize not everybody is going to love you, and believe me, I recognize that.”
-- On CNBC’s Rivera Live, May 21, 2001.
‘I Don’t Think’ I’m Biased
Don Imus: “Bernard Goldberg, your former colleague, in The Wall Street Journal the other day said that you possess a liberal bias that you’re even unaware of. What did you think of that? Well, first of all, do you? And second of all, what do you think of his comment?”
Dan Rather: “Do I what?”
Imus: “Possess a liberal bias.”
Rather: “No, I don’t think so, but other people have to judge that and, you know, he’s entitled to his opinion, and that’s, you know, I’m in favor of strong defense, tight money, and clean water. I don’t know what that makes me. Whatever that makes me, that’s what I am. But people are going to take those shots. When you’re on television every night, people are going to take those shots.”
-- Exchange on Imus in the Morning, July 19, 2001.
Dan’s Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
“Powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can’t deny the fundamental truth of the story. If you can’t deny the information, then attack and seek to destroy the credibility of the messenger, the bearer of the information. And in this case, it’s change the subject from the truth of the information to the truth of the documents. This is your basic fogging machine, which is set up to cloud the issue, to obscure the truth....Over the long haul, this will be consistent with our history and our traditions and reputation. We took heat during the McCarthy time, during Vietnam, during civil rights, during Watergate. We haven’t always been right, but our record is damn good.”
-- Dan Rather, as quoted by the New York Observer’s Joe Hagan, September 15, 2004.
“I don’t back down. I don’t cave when the pressure gets too great from these partisan political ideological forces.”
-- Dan Rather to Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post, September 16, 2004.
Rather: "Liberal" Epithet Used to
In his Wednesday, March 9, 2005
prime time special reviewing his career, Dan Rather: A Reporter
Remembers, Rather, dismissing bias charges as a just the latest in
a series of efforts to "intimidate" him, drew a line from being called
"an 'N-lover'" during the civil rights movement to the Vietnam war
years when critics tagged him with a "bad name: 'anti-military,
anti-American, anti-war,'" and "then, when Watergate came into being
was the first time I began to hear this word 'liberal' as an epithet
thrown my way."
Viewers then saw a montage of
video clips and shots of Web sites with text accusing Rather and CBS of
being "liberal," including the Media Research Center's logo and a headline
over an MRC page on Rather. Without
addressing evidence of his liberal tilt on policy, Rather charged that
"people who have very strong biases of their own, they come at you with a
story: 'If you won't report it the way I want it reported, then you're
biased.'" On the memogate affair, the CBS special touted how the review
panel found "no political agenda."
Thursday March 10, 2005 and
Friday, September 1, 2006)
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