CBS Exec, Kaplan, Now Slams Rather-- But Once Called Rather 'Gold Standard' of News

"CBS Evening News" executive producer Rick Kaplan has also come out to slam Dan Rather for his sexist comment that CBS' Katie Couric has "dumbed down" and "tarted up" the news biz with her tenure on CBS' nightly news broadcast. But, a little investigation shows that only two years ago Kaplan praised Rather as the "gold standard" of news anchors at an awards ceremony for Rather's "retirement".

So, which is it, Mr. Kaplan? Is Rather a jerk, or is he the best there is?

Today, Fox News' Roger Friedman reports that Kaplan thinks that Rather should just shut up and fade away...

Now, Kaplan has some advice for Rather.

"This is someone who should go through his life quietly," Kaplan told me.

Kaplan cited Rather's ignominious "Memogate" scandal that led to his exit from the network.

"We had to build back from when Dan left," Kaplan said. "What's really upsetting is that the same people are still here doing the news as when Dan left; those are the people he's criticizing. A lot of people at CBS are disappointed that he said that."

A body slam to Rather, there!

But, as I mentioned, this is the same Rick Kaplan who was not long ago praising Rather as the "gold standard" of TV news anchors. And our own Brent Baker was there to cover Kaplan's praise in his October, 2005 CyberAlert report.

Dan Rather's national media colleagues rallied around him, and denigrated his critics, at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards presented by the National Television Academy at a September 19 ceremony which C-SPAN aired Saturday night, where Rather was honored with a lifetime achievement award. ABC's Ted Koppel praised Rather as "a man of honesty and integrity and decency.

...MSNBC President Rick Kaplan, a former executive at ABC and CNN, asserted that "Dan was meticulously careful to be fair and balanced and accurate" during his career. Kaplan then lashed out: "When did we allow those with questionable agendas to take the lead and convince people of something quite the opposite? It's shameful." Kaplan went so far to declare that Rather's "legacy" is "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."

Wow. We go from Kaplan saying Rather's "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to" in 2005 to Rather should "go through his life quietly" and fade away just two scant years later?

That is certainly a head spinning about face, eh?

But, let's face it. We have a lot of reason to be skeptical of Kaplan. There is a LOT of credibility and cash on the line with this Couric business. Who cannot be suspicious of Kaplan's sudden unloading on Rather which will tend to keep this controversy alive, anyway? Kaplan has an awful lot to gain from keeping this story front and center.

If Kaplan can get the feminists in the viewing public to rally to his side, it could improve the female audience for Couric, thereby possibly driving up ratings for her news cast. Further, by keeping this incident in the news, Kaplan spurs the "CBS Evening News" to remain a topic of conversation, staying in the "news" and that could bring more viewers to the show as well.

So, the big question is this: was Kaplan not telling us how he really felt about Rather then, or is he not telling the truth now? Does he really still love and respect Rather, but is cynically using this opportunity to ramp up controversy to better his ratings now, or did he always really not like Rather even then when he was absurdly praising him? Either way, he is making it quite hard to believe a word he says on Rather with such a major conflict in viewpoints.

But, since the MSM is all smoke and mirrors anyway, who can really be surprised?

I report, you delight.

(To see all the Newsbusters Rather/Couric feud coverage see here & here & here & here & here & here)