In Stale Admirers-Only L.A. Event, Dan Rather Warns Bloggers "Manipulate Public Opinion"

Dan Rather spoke in Los Angeles -- and said all the same things about how journalism needs a "spine transplant" -- it sounds better than journalism needs "document authentication before broadcast." But the next time someone in the media elite mocks the president for cheerleaders-only town hall meetings, see how the Los Angeles Times notes the Rather talk went, late in their article:

He appeared pleased when, in a question-and-answer period, members of the audience, who like CBS viewers in general tended to skew older, told him how much they had admired him during his 44-year career at CBS. A speaker series producer and a member of Rather's entourage chose the questions from written submissions before the event began, said Dan Savage, managing director of SR Productions, which booked the event.

Obliquely referring to Rather's troubles, one member asked what role bloggers had played in his career. "Their influence was less than perceived," he said, equally obliquely. Some bloggers, he said, have found blogging to be "a good way to further a particular political agenda. It's not a crime," he said. But the public should recognize "there's a new opportunity here to manipulate public opinion."

Once again, Rather pretends only someone ELSE would stoop to using journalism to further their personal political agenda and manipulate public opinion.

I should acknowledge Rather was actually shameless early in the article, as well:

What journalism needs, Rather told the audience, is more: more backbone in questioning powerful leaders, more facts (and less speculation), more money and time from publishers, and more international coverage.

Rather also touted the CBS-adoring movie "Good Night and Good Luck" and the article ends this way:

Rather said he included himself among those who occasionally fell short of the journalistic ideal, citing many journalists' fear of appearing unpatriotic during the lead-up to the Iraq War. Even during Watergate, there was a time when he knew a certain question needed to be asked, but, he said, "I wasn't sure I was the one to ask it."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis