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CBS's Dan Rather The Dan Rather File
Decades of Liberal Media Bias
CBS Evening News with Dan Rather

“I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”
-- Dan Rather on The O'Reilly Factor, May 15, 2001

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George H. W. Bush

American Hypocrites
“You’ve made us hypocrites in the face of the world.” On the January 25, 1988 CBS Evening News, Dan Rather grills President George H. W. Bush on Iran-Contra.


Pounding George Bush

Bush “Hard Right”
“Now to Bill Whitaker covering George W. Bush’s talking the right talk, as in Republican hard right, to try to take out Steve Forbes in Iowa and focus on eliminating John McCain in New Hampshire.”
-- CBS Evening News, January 23, 2000.

Mean and Nasty George W. Bush
“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.”
-- CBS Evening News, September 5, 2000.

George W. Bush Didn’t Really Win
"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 U.S. Supreme Court ended Vice President Gore’s contest of the Florida election and, in effect, handed the presidency to Bush.”
— Beginning the December 13, 2000 CBS Evening News.


Bush’s Anti-Uniter Cabinet
“When you nominate someone to be Attorney General... who you know is going to raise questions, rightly or wrongly, justifiably or otherwise about race relations, quote ‘a hardline stance on a woman’s right to choose’ on abortion; when you appoint somebody, nominate someone, to be head of the Interior Department who says, ‘Listen, it’s alright for people who own private land to pollute,’ I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. I am saying that a lot are going to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is not uniter-divider country.’”
-- January 15, 2001 Late Show with David Letterman.

“The Republican convention opens in New York to re-nominate George W. Bush and showcase the party’s, quote, ‘moderate side.’ Will voters buy it?”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, August 30, 2004.

Bush, Another Herbert Hoover
“The Labor Department reported today that the unemployment rate remained at 5.4 percent in September. What’s troubling is the number of jobs the economy did and did not create.... It’s the first net job loss on a President’s watch since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, October 8, 2004.


Chiding Cheney

Covering VP Nominations on the ‘Right’
“In the presidential campaign, the official announcement 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.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, July 25, 2000.


Covering VP Nominations on the ‘Left’
“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.”
-- Dan Rather introducing the Gore-Lieberman ticket, CBS Evening News, August 8, 2000.

A Last-Minute Push for Kerry
“Good evening. The FBI has revealed that it is expanding its investigation into how Halliburton company billed taxpayers for its contract work in Iraq. The FBI will now include a criminal investigation of how the Bush administration awarded Halliburton those no-bid contracts in the first place and whether there was any insider favoritism.” 
-- Dan Rather leading off the CBS Evening News as an on-screen graphic showed the White House with the words “Criminal Probe” underneath, October 28, 2004.


National Guard Forgery Story

Rathergate: First the Smear ...
“Tonight, a CBS News/60 Minutes exclusive: New information on President George W. Bush’s record in the National Guard. Newly discovered documents spark new questions....Good evening. There are new questions tonight about President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, and about his insistence that he met his military service obligations. CBS News has exclusive information, including documents, that now sheds new light on the President’s service record. 60 Minutes has obtained government documents that indicate Mr. Bush may have received preferential treatment in the Guard after not fulfilling his commitments.”
-- Dan Rather opening the CBS Evening News, September 8, 2004.

... Then the Stonewall
CBS's Dan Rather on September 10, 2004“The story is true. The story is true. And the questions raised in the story are serious and legitimate questions.... I want to emphasize, I stand behind my President in a time -- we are in a time of war, and I stand behind my President. There's no joy in reporting such a story. But my job as a journalist is not to be afraid and when we come with facts and legitimate questions that are supported by witnesses and documents which we believe to be authentic to raise those questions, no matter how unpleasant they are. I do want to underscore with you that the White House, which took their shots at us today, the Bush/Cheney campaign took their shots at us, they have not answered the question of, did or did not the President obey a direct order from his military superior while he was a Lieutenant?”
-- Dan Rather in a sidewalk exchange with reporters on September 10, 2004, denying rumors that CBS had launched an investigation to determine if the “memos” were forged.

Smearing Critics
CBS's Dan Rather “Today, on the Internet and elsewhere, some people, including many who are partisan political operatives, concentrated not on the key questions of the overall story, but on the documents that were part of the support of the story. They allege that the documents are fake....The 60 Minutes report was based not solely on the recovered documents, but on a preponderance of the evidence, including documents that were provided by what we consider to be solid sources and interviews with former officials of the Texas National Guard. If any definitive evidence to the contrary of our story is found, we will report it. So far, there is none.”
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, September 10, 2004.

Experience: CBS News
“Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents for CBS News. He says he believes they are real.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, September 10, 2004.


“There’s no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them.”
-- Quote from Marcel Matley in a Washington Post story by Howard Kurtz and Michael Dobbs, September 14, 2004.

No Doubts About Dan’s “Thrust”
“We shall continue to aggressively investigate the story of President Bush’s service in the National Guard and the story of the documents and memos in Colonel Killian’s file....We do feel it’s important to underscore this point: Those who have criticized aspects of our story have never criticized the heart of it, the major thrust of our report, that George Bush received preferential treatment to get into the National Guard, and once accepted, failed to satisfy the requirements of his service. If we uncover any information to the contrary, rest assured we shall report that also.” 
-- Dan Rather concluding a 60 Minutes interview with Marian Carr Knox, Killian’s secretary, who said she doubted that CBS’s memos were genuine, but nevertheless “the information in those is correct,” 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 the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, in a September 16, 2004, article.

Dan Not Political?
“Anybody who knows me knows that I am not politically motivated, not politically active for Democrats or Republicans, and that I’m independent. People who are so passionately partisan politically or ideologically committed basically say, ‘Because he won’t report it our way, we’re going to hang something bad around his neck and choke him with it, check him out of existence if we can, if not make him feel great pain.’ They know that I’m fiercely independent and that’s what drives them up a wall.” 
-- Rather as quoted in a USA Today article by Peter Johnson and Jim Drinkard, September 17, 2004.

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.

Rather’s Battle with Reality
“Do I think they’re forged? No.”
-- Dan Rather discussing the “memos” he had already apologized for using, as quoted by Jeff Zeleny and John Cook in the Chicago Tribune, September 21, 2004.


Iraq, Terrorism & Foreign Policy

Soviet Citizens Liked Communism
“Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy.”
-- CBS Evening News, June 17, 1987.

The Eyes of Gorby
“He [Mikhail Gorbachev] 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 plant.”
-- Dan Rather, quoted in the Seattle Times, May 10, 1990.

Keeping Soldiers Safe
“Allied military units are on the move. Their positions, movements, and plans must be carefully safeguarded. We must assume that the enemy is confused about what is happening on the battlefield and it is absolutely essential that we not do anything inadvertently ourselves to clarify the picture for him.”
-- Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in a press conference at the start of the Gulf War ground operation, February 23, 1991.


“As part of our CBS News live coverage of the beginning of the ground war offensive, we’re talking to Bob McKeown, a CBS News reporter who’s one mile from the Kuwaiti border. Bob, any indication of how far up you the think the Allies are now?”
-- Dan Rather, 21 minutes later.

No Religious Persecution in China
“An editor’s note: When your reporter was in China recently, a very high ranking Chinese government official was repeatedly asked questions about religious persecution. He told me, and I quote directly, ‘These stories are untrue.. We do, as you do, have some trouble with cults and we, like you, deal with them accordingly but that’s all.’ End quote.”
-- CBS Evening News, July 22, 1997.

Castro Cares about Cubans
“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 22, 2000.

Rather’s Rather Ridiculous Rant
“It’s an obscene comparison, and I’m not sure I like it, but there was a time, in South Africa, where people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways, the fear is that you’ll be necklaced here, you’ll have the flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it’s that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often. And again, I’m humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism.”
-- Dan Rather, BBC’s Newsnight program, May 16, 2002.

Dan RatherCasualties of Bush’s Recession
“What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy, it may be, for some, the only job they can find.”
-- Dan Rather teasing a report on the CBS Evening News on the day four American civilians were killed in Fallujah, Iraq, March 31, 2004.

“In Najaf, the militant Shiite cleric Al-Sadr echoed the refrain Iraq could become quote, ‘another Vietnam’ for America.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, April 7, 2004.

Rooting for Rumsfeld’s Removal
“Tonight, new photographic evidence of Iraqi prisoner abuse. President Bush finally apologizes, but will he fire Defense Secretary Rumsfeld?”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, May 6, 2004.

Message: Bush Really Doesn’t Care
“You may want to note that some of the families of the 9/11 victims point out that it was only under pressure that President Bush finally agreed to the formation of the independent commission and only under pressure that he finally appeared before it today -- under his ground rules, on his ground. At the President’s insistence, it was a joint appearance with the Vice President behind the closed doors of the Oval Office and there was no audio or video recording and no full written transcript.”
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News following a story about President Bush’s meeting with the commission investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks, April 29, 2004.


Senator John Kerry

Dreaming of a “Bush Nightmare”
“[Senator John] Kerry has yet to pick a running mate, but belief appears to be growing that the Democratic dream team -- and President Bush’s nightmare -- would be Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain. Look at this: The latest CBS News poll indicates Kerry with an eight-point lead [49 to 41 percent] over President Bush. With McCain on a Kerry ticket, the lead grows to 14. McCain insists he is not interested in joining the Democratic ticket.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, May 27, 2004.

Kerry at His Sweaty Best
Dan Rather at the Democratic convention “John Kerry working himself literally into a sweat. Or as my high school English teacher would prefer, into a high state of perspiration. An almost literal thunder inside the hall, shaking the Fleet Center in a way that it seldom shakes, if ever, even during a Celtics basketball playoff game or a Bruins hockey playoff game. These Democrats, as the speech built, having what amounted to maybe a three-thousand-gallon attack about every three minutes, united in a way the Democratic Party has not been for about half a century.”
-- Dan Rather during CBS’s live coverage of the Democratic convention, July 29, 2004.

Does GOP Meanness Bother You?
Dan Rather to John Kerry “Speaking of angry, have you ever had any anger about President Bush -- who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard -- running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam? You have to be at least irritated by that, or have you been?”
-- Dan Rather to Senator John Kerry, on the July 22, 2004, CBS Evening News.


‘Middle-of-theRoad’ Bill Clinton

Centrist Clinton-Gore Ticket, I
“Delegates approved the Clinton-Gore center-of-the-road Democratic Party platform, trying to move the party closer to voters around the malls in America’s suburbs.”
-- First convention update during the all-star baseball game, July 14, 1992.

Centrist Clinton-Gore Ticket, II
“Assembled delegates here approved a center-of-the-road Democratic Party platform to help the Clinton-Gore ticket go shopping for votes in the fall in America’s malls and suburbs.”
-- Second convention update, July 14, 1992.

Centrist Clinton-Gore Ticket, III
“Earlier, the Democratic Party approved the Clinton-Gore middle-of-the-road platform calling for law and order, work for welfare recipients, and a strong U.S. military.”
-- Third convention update, July 14, 1992.

Bill’s the Best
“[Clinton] pointed out the Andrew Jackson magnolia tree. He’s a very good historian. Harry, I think if you had been in the room, any viewer-listener who had been in that room, would have been impressed with the breadth of his knowledge. I mean he talked about the Oscars. He talked very knowingly about Clint Eastwood and his new movie Unforgiven, Jack Nicholson’s role in A Few Good Men, and then switched very quickly to a knowledgeable analysis of Arkansas’s chances against North Carolina in the big basketball game tomorrow night.”
-- To CBS This Morning’s Harry Smith, after Clinton interview, March 25, 1993.

“Hard Right” Clinton
“Bill Clinton’s been running pretty hard to the right, so far that some Democrats now call him a ‘Republicrat.’ Do you go that far?”
-- Dan Rather to Jesse Jackson, CBS convention coverage, August 26, 1996.

An Honest Liar
Bill O’Reilly: “I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?”
Dan Rather: “Yes, I think he’s an honest man.”
O’Reilly: “Do you, really?”
Rather: “I do.”
O’Reilly: “Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?”
Rather: “Who among us has not lied about something?”


O’Reilly: “Well, I didn’t lie to anybody’s face on national television. I don’t think you have, have you?”
Rather: “I don’t think I ever have. I hope I never have. But, look, it’s one thing – ”
O’Reilly: “How can you say he’s an honest guy then?”
Rather: “Well, because I think he is. I think at core he’s an honest person. I know that you have a different view. I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”
— Exchange on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor, May 15, 2001.

“Honest” Bill Revisited
“I think the fact that someone has told a lie, even a big lie or maybe several big lies over a lifetime, does not mean that they’re an inherently dishonest person.... I believe in redemption and that Bill Clinton -- is he an honest person? I think he is an honest person. Did he lie? Yes, he lied, and on those occasions he was dishonest.”
-- Dan Rather on Imus in the Morning, February 7, 2002, radio show defending his comment from May 15, 2001 on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor that Clinton was “an honest man” and that “you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”

Cap’n Dan, the Book Review Man
“I read the book [My Life by Bill Clinton] completely. And I think it compares very favorably with Ulysses S. Grant’s gold standard of presidential autobiographies.”
-- Dan Rather on CNN’s Larry King Live, June 18, 2004.


“While Dan Rather, who interviewed Mr. Clinton for 60 Minutes, has already compared the book to the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, arguably the most richly satisfying autobiography by an American President, My Life has little of that classic’s unsparing candor or historical perspective. Instead, it devolves into a hodgepodge of jottings: part policy primer, part 12-step confessional, part stump speech and part presidential archive, all, it seems, hurriedly written and even more hurriedly edited.”
-- New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani, front-page critique of My Life, June 20, 2004.


Heralding Hillary Clinton

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.”
-- Dan Rather to President Clinton, via satellite, at a CBS affiliates meeting, referencing new co-anchor Connie Chung to the Evening News, May 27, 1993.

Hillary Clinton: 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.”
-- Dan Rather interviews Hillary Clinton, 48 Hours, September 22, 1993.

Hillary Clinton for President
“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 knee-pants 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.”
CBS's Dan Rather -- Dan Rather on CNN’s Larry King, December 3, 1998.

Hillary Clinton 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 the CyberAlert analysis of Dan Rather's interview with Hillary Clinton, see the May 27, 1999 CyberAlert)


Clinton Scandals and Ken Starr

Clinton Scandal vs. VP Bush Scandal
View a video comparison of how Dan Rather treated President Clinton in a March 31, 1999 interview in which Rather avoided the Chinese espionage and fundraising scandals and then Rather’s infamous interview of Vice President Bush on January 25, 1988 on the Iran-Contra scandal in which Rather told the president, “You’ve made us hypocrites in the face of the world.”


Get-Clinton Movement
“There is growing controversy tonight, about whether the newly named independent counsel in the Whitewater case is independent or a Republican partisan allied with a get-Clinton movement. Among the questions about Kenneth Starr are these: the involvement of anti-Clinton activists in pushing for Starr’s appointment to replace Robert Fiske. Also, Starr’s public stand actively supporting a woman’s current lawsuit against the President. This is a potentially important and explosive story, correspondent Rita Braver has the latest.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, August 8, 1994.

Republican Ken Starr
“The Republican Whitewater offensive is taking an unprecedented turn: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has been subpoenaed and now must testify before a Whitewater federal grand jury. That grand jury is led by a Republican prosecutor, Kenneth Starr.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, January 22, 1996.

Polls Against Ken Starr
“New indications in a CBS News poll out tonight of how the public perceives Republican special prosecutor Ken Starr’s investigation. Our poll suggests only 27 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial probe. And 55 percent think it’s time for Starr to drop his investigation.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 2, 1998.

Far-Right Republican Haters
“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, CBS Evening News, April 2 1998.

“Republican” Ken Starr Ruins Clinton’s Day
“Ken Starr drops another load on President Clinton....Good evening. Just as President Clinton was enjoying a day talking up the economy, officially announcing the first U.S. budget surplus in three decades, Ken Starr hit him again. The Republican independent counsel and special prosecutor decided late in the day to announce his decision to press his subpoena for samples of Monica Lewinsky’s handwriting, fingerprints and her voice.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, May 26, 1998.

What Could Have Been, If Not for Lewinsky
“It began with so much promise. Bill Clinton became the first Democratic President since Franklin Roosevelt to be reelected to a second term. This was the term he’d make his mark on history and determine how he’d be remembered. CBS’s Wyatt Andrews looks tonight at the state of the Clinton legacy.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, August 18, 1998.

Just About Sex
“On Capitol Hill, the Republican-dominated House now plans to vote Thursday to approve an official impeachment investigation into President Clinton, his sex life, and lies he told to hide it.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, October 6, 1998.

Impeachment is Coup D’Etat
Dan Rather to Republican Sen. Warren Rudman “Is or is there not some concern of the public perception, 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, having been unable to beat him at the polls, have found another way to get him out of office?”
-- Dan Rather, interview with former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman, CBS coverage of the start of the impeachment trial, January 7, 1999.

Impeachment Too Distracting
“The Republican leadership has decided, and spoken....They want the calling of witnesses and the lengthening out of the process. This is where the matter now stands. Questions such as what to do about Social Security, improving the nation’s schools, and the drug menace among America’s youth basically are on hold. So is what to do about threats to health of the U.S. economy by what is happening in Asia and Brazil; the threats to U.S. security posed by Iraq, Iran, and North Korea; and the peril represented by a collapsing Russia and an emerging China -- all important parts of the people’s business -- all remain pretty much on hold, while the trial drags on.”
-- “Dan Rather’s Notebook” radio commentary posted on the CBS News Web page, January 25, 1999.

Wishing Juanita Broaddrick Would Go Away
Dan Rather: “They are nervous about, number one, whether this information is accurate, whether it’s really true or not. And then number two, even if it does turn out to be true, it happened a long time ago and number three, they’ve gotta’ be figuring maybe, just maybe the American public has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying ‘you know, next. Let’s move on to the next thing.’”
Don Imus: “I was reading in either Time or Newsweek that even the woman herself, Juanita Broaddrick, said that she hopes that this thing went away this week and even she was sick about hearing about it and it’s her story.”
Rather: “Well, let’s hope she gets her way with that.”
-- Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, February 23, 1999.


Al Gore

Covering VP Nominations on the ‘Left’
“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.”
-- Dan Rather introducing the Gore-Lieberman ticket, CBS Evening News, August 8, 2000.


Covering VP Nominations on the ‘Right’
“In the presidential campaign, the official announcement 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.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, July 25, 2000.

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.”
-- Dan Rather, final day of the Democratic National Convention, August 17, 2000. (The next day, a Carter-appointed federal judge revealed he had inadvertently leaked the news.)

Gore: A Victim
 “You’ve been part of an administration that one can argue has presided over the greatest economic, sustained economic boom in the history of the country. But here you are in the last week of the presidential campaign, in which even by your own estimate you’re locked neck and neck with the other guy. Why is that? ... But surely sometime at night the two of you talking, you must have said, maybe one to the other, ‘Why is this happening to us?’”
-- To Al and Tipper Gore in taped interview, November 1, 2000.



Budget Cuts and Federal Spending

Dan Rather to Democratic Sen. Chris DoddDemocrats 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?”
-- Dan Rather to Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, August 25, 1996.

Pushing For More Spending
“Senior Americans who saw retirement savings evaporate in the Wall Street meltdown have another financial headache now. It turns out it was all talk and no action with the President and Congress again today on passing any version of Medicare prescription drug coverage.”
-- CBS Evening News, July 23, 2002.

30 Straight Years of NASA Cuts
“There’s certainly been talk that in recent years that Congress’s attitude and, for that matter, the attitude of a succession of Presidents beginning with President Nixon, running through Carter, Reagan, Bush first and President Clinton and now President George W. Bush, there’s been more cost cutting that has resulted in safety cutting.”
-- CBS’s live coverage on February 4, 2003 of a memorial for Columbia’s crew. Moments later, CBS space expert Bill Harwood corrected Rather, pointing out that “after Challenger, the budgets really ramped up.”


Taxes and Minimum Wage

Treating Liberal Spin as Fact
“President Bush tonight outlines his cut-federal-programs-to-get-a-tax-cut plan to Congress and the nation. Democrats will then deliver their televised response, which basically says Mr. Bush’s ideas are risky business, endangering among other things, Social Security and Medicare.”
-- CBS Evening News, February 27, 2001.

Dan’s Distorted Poll Reporting
“The President calls the tax cut necessary. Democrats call it a campaign for the wealthy. So far, it’s a problematic sell for the President. In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, less than half the respondents thought the Bush tax cut would actually help the economy.”
-- Rather failed to report that the poll he cited showed twice as many said tax cuts would help the economy (41 percent) than said new tax cuts would hurt (19 percent). CBS Evening News, May 13, 2003. 

Where’s Our Tax Increase?
Dan Rather: “Has there been any American President in a time of war who has asked for as little sacrifice as President Bush has done? Or is that a misreading of history?” 
Liberal historian Joseph Ellis: “No, I think you’re right, Dan. I think what’s unusual about President Bush is that he’s perhaps the only President that took us to war at the same time as he cut our taxes, and that’s supposed to not be possible. And so it’s an unusual situation, and perhaps we should listen today to see if he does ask us for, for some sacrifice.”
-- Exchange during CBS’s live coverage at about 10:40AM on January 20, 2005, an hour and 20 minutes before President Bush delivered his second Inaugural Address.


Medicare and Prescription Drugs

Time to Pay for CBS’s Advocacy
“The red ink keeps rising. The Medicare overhaul and prescription drug benefit haven’t taken effect yet and President Bush is already upping the ten-year price tag. First pegged at $400 billion, the Associated Press says the new estimate is $540 billion.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, January 29, 2004.

“In Washington today, for the umpteenth time, there’s talk of a possible compromise deal to provide at least some prescription drug coverage for people on Medicare. CBS’s Joie Chen reports what’s different this time as millions of older Americans wait for action.” 
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, June 10, 2003.

"It's going to cost you, the taxpayers, a whole lot more than you were told" for "the controversial new Medicare prescription drug plan."
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, February 9, 2005.


Campaigning for Campaign Finance Reform

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.”
-- Dan Rather, February 26, 1998.

Campaigning Against Free Speech
“In tonight’s Eye on America, CBS gives you an in-depth look at the sudden revival of congressional interest in legislation that’s been killed more times than Dracula: Legislation for serious campaign finance reform. In the wake of the Enron fiasco, will Congress finally put its votes where its mouth is?”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, January 25, 2002.

Cheering Anti-Free Speech Law
“On Capitol Hill, it took seven years, but the shame of Enron finally got Congress to pass a campaign finance reform bill today. The legislation bans soft money, the unregulated special interest donations to national political parties. But it doubles the allowable hard money with donations to individual candidates now to be capped at $2,000.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 20, 2002.

Readying Next “Reform” Push
“The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the new campaign finance law designed to stop unlimited campaign donations to political parties, what’s called ‘soft money.’ The ruling was five to four. CBS’s Wyatt Andrews has details on the Court’s decision and how special interest donors with deep pockets have already found a way around it.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, December 10, 2004.



Choosing Cash Over Clean Air
“President Bush insisted today that he was not caving in to big money contributors, big-time lobbyists, and overall industry pressure when he broke a campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the air was thick today with accusations from people who believe that’s exactly what happened.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 14, 2001.

Another Environmental Rollback
“President Bush is ordering another rollback, another reversal in U.S. environmental policy. This time it amounts to abandoning support for an international treaty designed to reduce emissions linked to global warming. CBS’s John Roberts has more about the heat this is generating, environmental and political.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 28, 2001.

“Fairly or unfairly, critics of President Bush’s environmental policy believe the only green policy he’s displayed is the color of big business money.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, April 17, 2001.

Bush’s Partisan Stance on Global Warming
“President Bush has been criticized at home and abroad for pulling out of the international treaty to curb global warming, the Kyoto Treaty. Now, CBS’s John Roberts reports, conservationists, environmentalists and some others are taking the President to task for what they say was the cynical changing of a major report on global warming. They say it was altered to put hardball partisan politics over hard independent science.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, June 19, 2003.



Clinton Keeps Campaign Promise
“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, CBS Evening News, Jan. 22, 1993.


Bush Pleases the ‘Right Flank’
“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 Clinton years.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, January 22, 2001.



Criticizing Gays 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 hate-mongers, 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.”
-- Dan Rather, writing in The Nation, April 11, 1994.


Republican Policies Hurtful

Dan the Welfare Expert
“Take an election year, add a budget crunch, and one sure result is an assault on the welfare system, help for the poor. Still, most of the people who attack welfare have little or no contact with the people who depend on it.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, February 5, 1992.

Greedy ‘80s
“And, Eye On America -- a town fighting back against greed, corporate raiders, and the hangover of the go-go ‘80s.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 19, 1992.

Reagan Years Unfair
“Everyone knows the rich got richer in the 1980s. Now, a new study shows how dramatic the change was.”
-- Dan Rather reporting on a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a group founded by Dukakis and Clinton advisors, CBS Evening News, October 29, 1992.

Poor Threatened by Republican Takeover of Congress
“Soup kitchens around the country are reporting demand for their services is up this Thanksgiving -- unfortunately, donations are down. And now with the coming shift of power and agendas in Washington, many charitable groups are worried about how they -- and the people they help -- can make it.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, November 23, 1994.

GOP Threaten Human Survival
“There was no doubt Republicans in the House had enough votes tonight to pass another key item in their agenda to rip up or rewrite government programs going back to the Franklin Roosevelt era. It is a bill making it harder, much harder, to protect health, safety, and the environment. For example: the benefit of any new regulation would be required to outweigh the financial cost.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, February 28, 1995.

Republicans Kill Kids and the Poor
“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.”
— Leading off the March 16, 1995 CBS Evening News.


Prelude to a Clinton Kiss
“President Clinton will outline his version of a plan he says will balance the federal budget in ten years without what Mr. Clinton sees as a radical and extremist Republican plan to gut programs that help the old, the young, and the poor in order to bankroll tax giveaways to the rich. Republicans, of course, see it a different way.”
-- Dan Rather before CBS News coverage of President Clinton’s budget address, June 13, 1995.

Carpet Bombing Health and Safety
“This is just for starters on a tough week ahead for President Clinton and his agenda. From another offensive wave on Whitewater to a sweeping rollback of federal regulations on health, safety, and the environment, it’s a political carpet-bombing attack, wall to wall, House to Senate.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, July 17, 1995.

Pushing Gun Control
“President Clinton met today with congressional leaders, pushing them for new gun control laws in response to more shocking gun violence. It’s been a week since a six-year-old Michigan girl was shot dead by another six-year-old. As CBS’s Diana Olick reports, the little girl’s death has many wondering what, if anything, more can be done and asking why Congress hasn’t done anything for months.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 7, 2000.

Kids Sacrificed for Big Tax Cuts
“On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled House voted mostly along party lines tonight to pass President Bush’s federal budget blueprint. This includes his big tax cut plan, partly bankrolled, critics say, through cuts in many federal aid programs for children and education.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, March 28, 2001.

Dan Pops His Clutch
Dan Rather on Feb. 6, 2004 CBS Evening News“Not a va-room, but a putt, putt, putt. Tonight, America’s economic engine creates some new jobs, but not nearly enough to replace the thousands lost.”
-- Dan Rather at the top of the February 6, 2004, CBS Evening News, teasing a story on 112,000 new private-sector jobs created in January, 2004, the most in more than three years.


Conservatives and Conservatism

Justice Souter, 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?”
-- Dan Rather, to Democratic Sen. Paul Simon, July 23, 1990.

Non-Liberal Blacks ‘Reactionaries’
“Black conservatives or reactionaries are getting a lot of attention since the Thomas nomination...It has been a common misconception that Americans who happen to be black also happen to be liberal or progressive. True, perhaps most are, but as Bruce Morton reports in tonight’s Eye On America, the terms black or African-American and conservative or reactionary are not mutually exclusive.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, July 12, 1991.

CBS News Competitors 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.”
-- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, January 4, 1995.


Republicans Radical and Extreme
“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?”
-- Dan Rather, 60 Minutes interview with Bill Clinton, August 18, 1996.

Castigating Conservatives
“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, CBS Evening News, April 23, 1997.

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 programs.”
-- Dan Rather, introducing a story on drop in minority admissions, CBS Evening News, May 16, 1997.


Dan on Dan

Dan’s Reporting Rules
“A serious journalist can’t run with a story without confirmation. Two sources at the absolute minimum.... This is how your narrator made it through Watergate. If I’d gone off half-cocked, if I’d gotten my facts scrambled, if I’d run with unconfirmed leads, I’d be selling insurance right now.”
-- Dan Rather in his 1994 memoir, The Camera Never Blinks Twice, page 97.

CBS’s ‘Dumb-Ass’ Anchorman
“Look, we’ve made mistakes in the past. Somebody wrote in the paper the other day that I was, quote, ‘boneheaded.’ Well, of course, it’s a matter of record I’m boneheaded, said, ‘well, this is bizarre.’ Well, of course I’m bizarre, you know, we’ve known that for a long time...Somebody, I don’t know if he put it exactly this way, but he said, ‘well, you know, it’s a dumb-ass thing he’s doing.’ Well, you know, I’ve been a dumb-ass all my life.”
-- Dan Rather, on the July 19, 2001 Imus in the Morning, discussing his refusal to cover the scandal surrounding Democratic Congressman Gary Condit until his weekday CBS Evening News aired a single story on July 18.

I Can’t Figure This Out, So Go Buy a Paper
“Obviously, this is a very complicated subject. It’s the kind of subject that, frankly, radio and television have some difficulty with because it requires such depth into the complexities of it. So we can with, I think, impunity recommend that if you’re really interested in this you’ll want to read in detail one of the better newspapers tomorrow. This has been a CBS News Special Report.”
-- Dan Rather, concluding CBS’s coverage of President Bush’s August 9, 2001 stem cell speech after only 53 seconds of analysis right before his network aired Big Brother 2.

Explains a Lot
“In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions....Ed Murrow’s ghost is here. I’ve seen him and talked to him on the third floor of this building many times late at night. And I can tell you that he’s watching over us.”
-- Resigning CBS anchor Dan Rather, quoted by the Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Richmond, November 30, 2004.


CBS's Dan RatherDan Denies Liberal Bias

Dan Rather has denied having a liberal bias almost as long as he’s been a news anchor.


“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.

Bill Clinton
Dan Rather Suggests “First Husband” Bill Clinton
Dan Rather: "Mr President, when we traveled with you in China, you weren't aboard Air Force One. Do you miss it?"
Bill Clinton: "Well, I don't miss the trappings so much, but I loved the plane because it's a great place to work."
Rather, looking bemused: "Do you, in some quiet moment, look forward to the time maybe when you fly on it in a different capacity, as First Husband?"

| |

Clinton chuckled, then responded: "Well, the answer to that is no, I don't. I don't think about that and I have urged all of Hillary's supporters not to think about that, because she's got to run for re-election. And it's a big hazard for anybody who's up for re-election to think about anything but re-election."
Rather, trumpeting Geena Davis on ABC's Commander-in-Chief: "Well, as you know, we now have on television, we have a woman President of the United States."
Clinton: "Yeah, Geena Davis."
Rather: "Is the country ready for a woman President, a real woman President as opposed to one on television?"
Clinton: "I don't know. My gut is, yes, that if a woman came across as strong and seasoned and well prepared, if you said the right things in the right way and you had a good record to back it up, my gut is, yes. But the hard truth is we won't know until it happens."
Rather, narrating over video of Clinton with AIDS patients in China: "For now, Mr. Clinton says he's concentrating his efforts on AIDS. But globe-trotting can take its toll. In China, the President seemed grayer and thinner than the last time we had seen him."
Exchange between reporter Dan Rather and former President Bill Clinton, 60 Minutes, Jan. 1, 2006.




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