Talk about your Bizarro World. Up is down. Right is wrong. Dan Rather has a journalism award named after him. Fox News on Wednesday reported that the University of Texas named an award after the disgraced ex-CBS News anchor. David Rutz wrote, “UT's Moody College of Communication tweeted Wednesday that it was introducing ‘the Dan Rather Medals for News and Guts to recognize collegiate and professional journalists who overcome obstacles like stonewalling and harassment to speak truth to power.’"
Dan Rather? The same guy who was forced out at CBS after his 60 Minutes fake news report attempted to derail the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004? Here’s the school’s actual tweet, complete with a ridiculous-looking medal.
What's next? The Bill Clinton Award for Respectful Treatment of Women? The Brian Williams Award for Honesty in Journalism? Well maybe give that last one to Rather as well. After all, he’s the same guy who, in 2001 appeared on then-Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s program. Pressed on Bill Clinton’s lies, the journalist insisted, “I think that you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”
Here's what I wrote about a powerful 2019 Fox Nation documentary on Rather’s botched effort to destroy Bush:
On Wednesday, September 8, 2004, during a heated presidential election campaign 60 Minutes II aired a report, hosted by Rather, accusing Bush of trying to get out of Guard service. Rather claimed, “Tonight, we have new documents and new information on the president’s military service.”
Except, as many now know, those documents weren’t vetted by Dan Rather, producer Mary Mapes, or the executives at CBS. The shifting and unreliable stories of where the documents came from — and whether they were forgeries — would ultimately take down Rather.
For more on the documentary, see my review.
Rather also famously tried, and failed, to ambush George W. Bush’s father in 1988. Talk about an Orwellian award by the University of Texas. Rather isn’t a journalistic hero. He’s an example of fake news, before that was even a term.