Dan Rather: Glenn Beck ‘Controversial;’ ‘Loves’ Keith Olbermann

Dan Rather, MediaBistro In the third part of an interview on MediaBistro.com’s Media Beat, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared some thoughts on various media personalities. He labeled Fox News host Glenn Beck “controversial,” while hailing MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann: “Love him, as a person, as a journalist. Don’t always understand what he’s trying to do on his program, but I like Keith.”

Rather bizarrely went on to explain part of his admiration for the left-wing bomb thrower: “For one thing, he’s a Yankee fan....give him credit. That Keith Olbermann has been with the Yankees through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, and I really respect that, among other things about him.” Rather did manage to say one kind word about Beck, calling him a “talented TV personality.”

TVNewser columnist Gail Shister also asked Rather’s thoughts on his Evening News replacement Katie Couric. Rather’s assessment of her was not as enthusiastic as that of Olbermann: “Good lady, comes from a journalistic family. Has had a difficult transition but seems to be in a better place now.”

Shister asked about the newly named anchor of ABC’s World News, Diane Sawyer, whom Rather called a “Classy lady, terrific journalist, marvelously talented television performer.” On Oprah Winfrey, he proclaimed: “Life force of her own, one of a kind. She is an asset to the country. Gotta love Oprah.”

Shister concluded the interview by asking Rather about Rather. He replied: “Dan Rather, (pause) lifetime journalist who dreamed and got lucky, very lucky, with the big help and the grace of God. Far luckier than he ever thought he would be and probably far luckier than he ever deserved to be.”

In the first part of the Media Beat interview, Rather criticized internet journalists for lacking “transparency and accountability.”

Here is a full transcript of the final part of the interview, posted on MediaBistro.com on Wednesday:
GAIL SHISTER: I will mention some names and tell me the first thing that comes into your head. Okay, you ready.

DAN RATHER: If anything. I’m ready.

SHISTER: If anything. I know it’s pretty empty in there, so-

RATHER: You tell them.

SHISTER: Gear up, gear up. Glenn Beck

RATHER: (pause) Controversial.

[SHISTER GIVES FRUSTRATED LOOK, WANTING RATHER TO ELABORATE]

RATHER: You said the first thing that pops into my head.

SHISTER: Okay, what’s the second thing?

RATHER: Talented personality.

SHISTER: Okay.

RATHER: Talented TV personality.

SHISTER: Katie Couric.

RATHER: Good lady, comes from a journalistic family. Has had a difficult transition but seems to be in a better place now.

SHISTER: Keith Olbermann.

RATHER: Love him, as a person, as a journalist. Don’t always understand what he’s trying to do on his program, but I like Keith. For one thing, he’s a Yankee fan. I know Mets fans will turn crazy.

SHISTER: Mets fans, how about Phillies fans?

RATHER: Well-

SHISTER: Them’s fighting words.

RATHER: I know they’re fighting words but give him credit. That Keith Olbermann has been with the Yankees through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, and I really respect that, among other things about him.

SHISTER: Diane Sawyer.

RATHER: Classy lady, terrific journalist, marvelously talented television performer.

SHISTER: Oprah.

RATHER: Life force of her own, one of a kind. She is an asset to the country. Gotta love Oprah.

SHISTER: David Letterman.

RATHER: David Letterman, good guy, tightly wound, as many comedians are. Always on edge, I think, because it’s – you do that program five nights a week. I think he’s on edge a lot because of the pressure to be funny.
                    
SHISTER: Dan Rather.

RATHER: Dan Rather, (pause) lifetime journalist who dreamed and got lucky, very lucky, with the big help and the grace of God. Far luckier than he ever thought he would be and probably far luckier than he ever deserved to be.   
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC