Disgraced CBS Anchor Proposes "Rather's Rules" for Good Journalism

Dan Rather spoke at a Cherry Hill, New Jersey high school last night (Wednesday), South Jersey's Courier-Post reports this morning, and reporter Jim Walsh noted (without irony) that the disgraced and replaced CBS Evening News anchor proposed “Rather’s Rules” for improving journalism.

Isn’t that a bit like “Dr. Kevorkian’s Rules” for better medicine?

In his speech, Rather repeated his recent chiding of the national media for being too soft, and in “need of a spine transplant.” But when it came to his own journalistic transgression, the 2004 60 Minutes hit piece on President Bush's National Guard service -- a report based on forged memos -- Rather crouched behind his Nixonian stone wall:

“‘I’ve said pretty much all I have to say about this subject,’ he said in response to a question. ‘The public wants to move on,’” the Courier-Post reported.

An excerpt of the article summarizing Rather’s lecture:
The newsman proposed “Rather's rules,” saying reporters should “ask more questions, especially the tough ones.” He said the media should offer less sensationalism and “more real analysis.” It should also pay more attention to international events, he said.

Rather said media improvement was needed for society’s well-being.

“American journalism at its best is a public trust and is deeply bound up in our system of checks and balances,” he said.

He anchored The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather for 24 years, but stepped down in March after a furor over a report on President Bush’s military service during the Vietnam War era.

The story, which aired on 60 Minutes Wednesday during the 2004 presidential campaign, was based on alleged memos from Bush’s commander in the Texas Air National Guard. However, CBS could not authenticate the documents.

Rather, who has said his departure from the anchor desk was unrelated to the National Guard story, did not mention the report in his speech.

“I’ve said pretty much all I have to say about this subject,” he said in response to a question. “The public wants to move on.”
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters