If this is how Dan Rather at peace looks like, wonder what he's like when angry and embittered . . .
On Morning Joe today, Rather emphatically alleged that he was "at peace" over the Memogate fiasco that led to the end of his career. But he couldn't help himself from suggesting that his reputation had been destroyed by anonymous partisans employing "lies." View the video after the jump.
Ironically, Rather's whine came in response to a self-indulgent set up from Mike Barnicle, who bemoaned the "danger" in the way "elements of the culture around us" can extract "one day" of a career to define its entirety. Watch Rather clinging to the fantasy that his career was damaged by false attacks from others, rather than by his heedless reliance on palpably false documents.
Note: NewsBuster Scott Whitlock caught Rather saying something similar on Good Morning America earlier this week. Rather complained that he had been subjected to a "propaganda barrage." Awww.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: There's been a lot of controversy surrounding this book. A lot of people saying you need to just let it go. And I know you've probably heard that from a lot of your friends. Just let the CBS, the end of CBS do, you had such a long and honorable career there: don't focus on it. Why do you feel you needed to go back and tell your story?
DAN RATHER: Well, first of all: it's way behind me--I have moved on, a long time ago. It's one of the reasons I didn't write the book right away. I had, you know, confusion, anger at that time. But I'm at peace now . . . I did want to include in this book my side of what happened at CBS News, what really happened as opposed to what a lot of people think happened at CBS News, and how the story we broke at Abu Ghraib--that was before the Bush story--was a prelude to what happened with the Bush story. But it's in the book: what I have to say is in the book. But I moved past it a long time ago, and I can't emphasize enough how much at peace I am now.
MIKE BARNICLE: Dan, could you talk about, we were talking briefly about this off the air, the aspect of your life, your story, and the culture we are all a part of, in that you have had, and still have, this tremendously honorable career, across all of these decades. Going to Afghanistan in a few days for what, the 14th or 15th time?
RATHER: Fourteenth time.
BARNICLE: Covering a major story, war in our times. And yet we live in an age, not just with you: one second of that career, one day, one hour of that career, can be extracted and built up by elements of the culture around us trying to define an entire career. There's a danger in it.
RATHER: Well I agree with you of course, Mike; naturally I would. But I do think there's something people can pull back--what we call in television the wide shot--and think about. That with the internet, with all of its advantages, and I'm a great believer in the internet and the future of the internet, that one of the downsides is exactly what you just said. That anonymous people, frequently organized for partisan political purposes, and/or their ideology, can anonymously absolutely blow up your reputation. Whether it's your neighbor: you can be a plumber or welder or businessman, and if your neighbor doesn't like you, he can virtually destroy you over a 24-, 36-hour period anonymously by putting out all kinds of misinformation, lies even, about you, and that moment gets frozen in time and many people identify you with that moment. It's true.
SCARBOROUGH: Gotta fight back.