Who is he: Dan Rather, best known as 24-year anchor of "CBS Evening News," resigned his position on March 9, 2005, and currently serves as managing editor and anchor of the television news magazine "Dan Rather Reports" for cable channel HDNet.
Rather was an anchor of "CBS Evening News" for 24 years, from March 9, 1981, when he succeeded Walter Cronkite, until March 9, 2005. During that time, Rather amassed a reputation as a formidable corporate infighter. A man who was aware that his tenure as anchor rested on the support he could muster within the organization, his power and influence extended up and down the command chain at CBS.
Rather resigned while under investigation for allegedly having falsified reports on a "60 Minutes" segment about the Texas Air National Guard service record of then-president George W. Bush, utilizing memos from Bush's squadron commander, that showed Bush received favorable treatment during his Vietnam-era service. Rather's report, produced by CBS producer Mary Mapes, aired about two months prior to the 2004 election that saw Bush given a second term. Dan Rather left CBS entirely, after 4 years, in 2006.
In 2007 Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS, its parent company Viacom and key leadership of the network, for breach of contract, claiming the investigation commissioned by CBS that eventually lead to his apology and resignation had been politically biased. He revealed internal CBS memorandums showing network executives chose Republican operatives to vet the names of potential investigatory panel members. The investigation had been led by Dick Thornburgh, Republican former US attorney general under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and Louis D. Boccardi, former chief executive of The Associated Press.
Although that panel cited a "breakdown in standards by CBS in rushing the Bush segment onto the air," it found "no evidence of liberal bias" in the segment's preparation. Nonetheless, Rather had already been given no alternative but to resign or be fired.
Rather's lawsuit was dismissed by a New York state appeals court on September 29, 2009, shortly after Rather's lawyers had, on September 21 suggested his reporting on Bush's falsified military record would be vindicated. The New York Supreme Court refused to hear the case on appeal in January 2010.
Dan Rather certainly needed all the clout he could get because his persona was obviously a fabricated one. From the homey, country neologisms that his writers scripted for him to the false image that he liked to project as a ferocious investigative reporter, every part of Rather's image was meticulously scripted and assiduously polished.
Rather's leaving marked the end of an era. It was the Internet that exposed his fakery and it is the Internet Reformation that has reduced nightly TV news to a shadow of its former impact. There is a plethora of information available today, much of it far more truthful than what Rather and other mainstream media pundits deliver(ed).
Background: Daniel Irvin "Dan" Rather, Jr. was born October 31, 1931 in Wharton County, Texas. He graduated in 1949 from John H. Reagan High School and in 1953 completed a bachelor's degree in journalism at Sam Houston State University.
Rather began his journalism career in 1950 as an Associated Press reporter and then in 1959 began his television career with KTRK-TV in Houston.
At CBS, Rather began his broadcast career as a correspondent, becoming well-known for reporting on President Kennedy's assassination November 22, 1963 where he'd been reporting from Kennedy's motorcade that day. Rather confronted President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate scandal and Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988, telling Bush, "You've made us hypocrites in the face of the world."
Rather was nowhere near as popular as Cronkite. Initially, Rather competed with ABC and NBC but by 1992 the CBS News broadcast had fallen to third place. It would eventually get worse, not better, as Rather's integrity came under attack following the G.W. Bush reelection in 2004. Always known as a hyper-liberal reporter, Dan Rather had made many powerful enemies and when he was wounded by scandal, the longknives came out. Soon it was impossible for him to stay. Dan Rather's mainstream media career died an inevitable death as the golden era of his industry of misinformation is rapidly eroding in the face of a growing force of truth – a process we call the Internet Reformation.