A Virginia-based media research group says there is little doubt that Dan Rather's decision to step down from the CBS anchor desk next March was precipitated by the “MemoGate” scandal.
Dan Rather has come under increasing criticism in recent months for his role in a 60 Minutes story on President Bush's service in the Air National Guard. The piece was based on documents that have since been shown to be forgeries.
Rather says he agreed with CBS executives last summer that the right time for him to leave would be after the November elections. But Tim Graham of the Media Research Center does not buy that explanation.
“I don't think there's anybody on the plus-side of [age] 12 who thinks this is just Dan retiring because it's time,” Graham says. “I think that CBS is trying to figure its way out of this problem, and they figured that they're going to lead with Rather stepping down.”
Graham says the veteran newsman made a big mistake in not admitting he made an error in reporting the story about President Bush. It was wrong, he says, for Rather “to get up and boast that only people who had conservative ideological agendas were attacking him, instead of [facing up to] the fact that he was being disproven by his own colleagues in the national media.”
The MRC spokesman says it is difficult to get beyond the fact that Rather never apologized to the president for using fabricated documents to back up the story. “He merely said he didn't think he could vouch for the documents journalistically,” says Graham. But as Graham points out, Rather still insisted to the Chicago Tribune that he believed the documents were real.
The Media Research Center has long criticized Rather for his inclination to inject his liberal bent into news reporting. MRC president Brent Bozell says Rather has “often misled the American people time and again with biased reporting on a wide variety of issues.” But he does not expect biased reporting to disappear with Rather gone.
“Mr. Rather's stepping down from the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News is not going to correct the enormous credibility problems,” Bozell states. “We have always felt the liberal bias problem that permeates that network goes far beyond Mr. Rather.”
Rather's bias, Bozell says, is part of an “institutional problem throughout the national 'news' media…which is the arrogant notion that their point of view is always accurate and always relevant to any story in which they choose to inject it.”
(This article courtesy of Agape Press).