Dan Rather Stands by What He Won't Call "Memogate"

Romenesko today posted a link to a SmarterMoney/Esquire "What I've Learned" first-hand recounting of thoughts from Dan Rather, such as this insight: "You trust your mother. But you cut the cards anyway." In the July 29-dated posting, Rather complained that "many of the people" who call his scandal "memogate" are doing "so for their own partisan and/or ideological purposes." Unlike with Watergate, "no crime was committed here" and he maintained: "The central facts in the story were correct, and they have not been denied. A pillar of support for the story has been called into question and remains in question. We don't know everything yet." Rather also claimed that "whatever mistakes" were made, "real or imagined, " they "were not born of political bias nor of prejudice."Rather's paragraph, in full: Watergate became a shorthand word for a widespread criminal conspiracy that was led by a president of the United States. There were big constitutional values at stake. That's not to be equated with a lot of other things that have come to have gate attached at the end. Many of the people who call it [Memogate] do so for their own partisan and/or ideological purposes. No crime was committed here. The central facts in the story were correct, and they have not been denied. A pillar of support for the story has been called into question and remains in question. We don't know everything yet. More will come out. Whatever mistakes — real or imagined — that were made were not born of political bias nor of prejudice. Did we do it perfectly? No. Are there things I wish we'd done that we didn't do? Yes." Rather made a similar argument in a June 2 appearance on CNN's Larry King Live. The Friday, June 3 MRC CyberAlert summarized: Dan Rather reiterated to CNN's Larry King on Thursday night that he believes the memos, in his National Guard hit piece on President Bush, were genuine. Rather emphasized how "the documents were part of a fairly wide array of information we had" and were "supported by all kind of things other than the documents." When King wondered, "so, are you saying the story
might be correct?", Rather replied: "Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view."

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center