Dan Rather is suing CBS for breach of contract related to his firing in 2004. The suit revolves around the reporting of George Bush’s evasion of service in the Texas Air National Guard. As the case gets closer to a trial date, new stirrings are emerging from Rather’s camp that offer a tantalizing preview of what may be revealed in court. The Guardian reports that Rather contends that his reporting was true and that…
“…CBS succumbed to political pressure from conservatives to get the report discredited and to have him fired. He also claims that a panel set up by CBS to investigate the story was packed with conservatives in an effort to placate the White House.
The claim as to the panel was in fact documented and showed that CBS actually considered the likes of Robert Novak, Tucker Carlson, Pat Buchanan, Matt Drudge, William Kristol, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, to sit in judgment of Rather. Talk about a hangin’ jury…..
Rather goes on to be fairly specific about CBS’ motivations and he asserts that they were attempting to mollify the Bush administration in order to get more favorable regulatory treatment. In addition to his claims about Bush’s military non-service, Rather reveals that CBS also tried to bury a story on the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib. He contends that the network refused permission to air the story for weeks and, when it did air, they crippled it by denying it any promotion and took other measures to suppress viewership. This was also at the request of government overseers.
Rather is a little late to this party. Many industry observers have known for years that the big media conglomerates were shaping their reporting in order to please their benefactors in government agencies as well as in Congress. But it’s still better to have Rather arrive late than not at all. When this case makes its way to court there may be even more revelations. I can’t wait. It’s just too bad that it took a lawsuit by an embittered former anchor for these allegations to surface. You have to wonder how many similar acts of journalistic malpractice and government collusion with media have occurred but remain the secrets of people who are still protecting their jobs and their associates in Washington.