Tom 'Dan-Man' Shales on Memogate: 'This So-called Flawed Report'

"I'm a Dan Man myself, so I tend to look at this from his viewpoints [sic]." -- WaPo media critic Tom Shales, on today's "Morning Joe."

It's a morning for candor on "Morning Joe." Earlier, Mika "Bubbles" Brzezinski had admitted that "the SATs were not my strong suit." Later in the show, the notoriously tough-on-conservatives [see, e.g., MRC item #3 here] Tom Shales acknowledged that he has a soft spot for Dan Rather, calling himself a "Dan Man."

I'll say. Despite the overwhelming mountain of uncontroverted and incontrovertible evidence, Shales refuses to admit the obvious: that the documents at the heart of Memogate were the most transparent [literally] and amateurish of forgeries.

Substitute anchor Willie Geist interviewed Shales at 8:30 A.M. EDT this morning.

View video here.


WILLIE GEIST: Tom, why is Dan Rather bringing this suit up at this time?

TOM SHALES: I think it's a matter of honor for him. Which is kind of an old-fashioned concept, these days, honor. People don't usually care about it much anymore. I really think he does; he doesn't need the money. It's just that as the record stands, he talks in the suit about this, the way CBS allowed this scandal to be called "Rathergate," or it just came to be known that way because they pushed Dan up there as the front man, the guy that took all the knocks for it. And I don't think he wants the record books to have that asterisk next to his name, that, you know, he left CBS after disgracing them with this so-called flawed report on George Bush.

A bit later, Shales proclaimed his fealty to Rather.

GEIST: One of the items in the complaint says that Mr. Rather was forced to make that on-air apology, it was an apology he says he didn't write, it was written by a PR person for him. Basically, that he was forced to read that "Memogate" apology on the air. And I think that the question a lot of people ask is: you're Dan Rather. You're the Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News. Why did you read it if you didn't want to read it?

SHALES: Yeah, well, again, I'm a Dan Man myself, so I tend to look at this, you know, from his viewpoints [sic].

Shales went on to say that Rather was a good team player who chose to take the bullet for the sake of CBS. Sort of like Shales, letting his own credibility go down with Dan's as he continues to deny the undeniable: that the documents were the most blatant of forgeries.

Neither Geist nor Brzezinski, who also participated in the discussion, were gauche enough to allude to the 800-pound forgery gorilla in the room.

And Shales should really save us the Dan-cares-about-honor shtick. Dan didn't give a fig for besmirching George W. Bush's honor by propagating those forged documents in the days immediately preceding the 2000 election.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.