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Thread: What do you think of Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit

  1. #1

    Question What do you think of Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit

    The concentration of power in today's media is an issue that rarely receives proper attention. I saw Dan Rather on Larry King Live yesterday defending his choice to sue CBS. I think it is time to expose some truths about how the mainstream media is primarily promoting corporate interests and compromising journalistic integrity.

    What do you think of Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit? Is it frivolous without merit or do you think he is right to come out now, sixteen months after the fact and expose the corporate cronies at CBS?

    GG


    Dan Rather sues CBS for $70 million

    By Michelle NicholsWed Sep 19, 6:45 PM ET

    Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather sued the network on Wednesday for $70 million, saying CBS violated his contract by depriving him of air time and made him a scapegoat to "pacify the White House."

    Rather was removed as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" after 24 years in March 2005 after a scandal over a September 8, 2004, report on President George W. Bush's military record that he presented in the middle of the presidential race between the Republican Bush and Democrat John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran.

    He kept reporting for the weekly news program "60 Minutes," but was dumped by CBS in June 2006 after 44 years with the network. He said they offered him no assignments.

    The lawsuit by the 75-year-old Texan was filed in State Supreme Court against CBS, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, Viacom Inc, Viacom Chief Executive Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward, former head of CBS News. It claims CBS cost him "significant financial loss and seriously damaged his reputation."

    "Central to defendants' plan to pacify the White House was to offer Mr. Rather as the public face of the story, and as a scapegoat for CBS management's bungling of the entire episode," the lawsuit said.

    "CBS management coerced Mr. Rather into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast," it said. "Mr. Rather was not responsible for any such errors."

    CBS said in a statement, "These complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit."

    INTEGRITY 'SACRIFICED'

    The story, suggesting Bush received preferential treatment during his Vietnam War service in the Texas Air National Guard, was partly based on documents CBS later acknowledged could not be authenticated. It retracted the report 12 days later.

    CBS News fired the producer of the segment and three other employees after an independent panel concluded that "myopic zeal" led the network to disregard basic principles of journalism in rushing the piece on the air.

    Rather initially kept his job but stepped down as anchor in March 2005, six months after the scandal broke.

    "The defendants sacrificed Mr. Rather's journalistic integrity by falsely blaming him for alleged errors in the broadcast," the lawsuit said. "CBS thereafter minimized his staff, support, air time and public exposure, contrary to the terms of the contract it had signed with Mr. Rather."

    In August CBS settled a termination dispute with fired radio shock jock Don Imus. He was fired in April after referring to a mostly black university women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos," a racial slur that generated a storm of controversy and led CBS Radio to cancel his morning show.

    Rather now produces an hour-long news program, "Dan Rather Reports," for cable channel HDNet -- available only to Americans with high-definition television sets.

    In an interview last November, Rather said of his new job, "I consider this going into the wilderness."

    But he was reserved when asked about being dumped by CBS after decades of service that saw him cover everything from President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination to the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon in 1974 to the Iraq war.

    "I was proud to work for them every day I was there, and I thought I would finish my career there," he said of CBS.

    But in June he said the CBS Evening News had been dumbed down and "tarted up," comments CBS called a sexist swipe at his successor, Katie Couric, who has struggled to turn around a ratings decline.

    Rather's lawyer Martin Gold said if he wins the lawsuit he will donate much of the proceeds to the cause of promoting an independent press.

    (Additional reporting by Edith Honan and Kenneth Li in New York and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles)

  2. #2
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    If Dan Rather wins this lawsuit then I will assume that he is telling the truth...
    and SHAME ON CBS! Double Shame for blaming the messenger and for "glory" reporting.


    Our politicians need to be afraid of our journalists and not the other way around. Without freedom of the press, there is no democracy.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  3. #3
    Dan Rather is a self-serving pussy, with a whole career of self-serving pussy behavior. He disgraced himself, now the lawsuit is his pathetic attempt to save face, and once again blame others for his failings.

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    If it was a case where he was "On Location" reporting on what he saw happening dishonestly that would have been one thing.

    If he had been the one to research this news item that would have been another.

    However, if he was just reading the news as it was presented to him, it is unfair to shoot the messenger.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by General Gonad
    The concentration of power in today's media is an issue that rarely receives proper attention. I saw Dan Rather on Larry King Live yesterday defending his choice to sue CBS. I think it is time to expose some truths about how the mainstream media is primarily promoting corporate interests and compromising journalistic integrity.
    Yes, it is true there is a corporate media complex, but what is much worse and more prevalent is the liberal bias in the media which is doing a lot more harm. Dan Rather is a lockstep liberal instead of an independent journalist.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by beautydigger
    Yes, it is true there is a corporate media complex, but what is much worse and more prevalent is the liberal bias in the media which is doing a lot more harm. Dan Rather is a lockstep liberal instead of an independent journalist.
    I prefer a liberal bias than having to listen to the crap on Fox news.

    GG

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by General Gonad
    I prefer a liberal bias than having to listen to the crap on Fox news.

    GG
    Fox News is owned by a liberal. I bet you perk right up when Jerry Rivers comes on though.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beautydigger
    Fox News is owned by a liberal. I bet you perk right up when Jerry Rivers comes on though.
    I always thought Murdoch was a conservative... and a staunch Bush supporter.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    I always thought Murdoch was a conservative... and a staunch Bush supporter.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    While he is a scratching post of the left for his ownership of Fox News Channel and the conservative New York Post, the Times notes that Murdoch often bends to the political winds to suit his business interests. He held two fundraisers this month for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), a leading Democratic candidate for president.

    The paper traces Murdoch's rise alongside other more liberal politicians, including liberal lion Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and British Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    "An analysis of campaign finance records shows that since 1997, Republicans have received only a slight majority — 56 percent — of the $4.76 million in campaign donations from the Murdoch family and the News Corporation’s political action committees and employees," the article says. "Since Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections, the company and its employees have given more than twice as much to Democrats."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by beautydigger
    While he is a scratching post of the left for his ownership of Fox News Channel and the conservative New York Post, the Times notes that Murdoch often bends to the political winds to suit his business interests. He held two fundraisers this month for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), a leading Democratic candidate for president.

    The paper traces Murdoch's rise alongside other more liberal politicians, including liberal lion Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and British Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    "An analysis of campaign finance records shows that since 1997, Republicans have received only a slight majority — 56 percent — of the $4.76 million in campaign donations from the Murdoch family and the News Corporation’s political action committees and employees," the article says. "Since Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections, the company and its employees have given more than twice as much to Democrats."
    OK so he is neither if he: "bends to the political winds to suit his business interests". I still don't trust him...

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    OK so he is neither if he: "bends to the political winds to suit his business interests". I still don't trust him...
    Neither do I. Murdoch is a powerful man who makes Conrad Black look like a choir boy. As for U.S. politicians, both Democrats and Republicans suck corporate cock for a living. They are virtually indistinguishable.

    GG

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    If it was a case where he was "On Location" reporting on what he saw happening dishonestly that would have been one thing.

    If he had been the one to research this news item that would have been another.

    However, if he was just reading the news as it was presented to him, it is unfair to shoot the messenger.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    Remember, this wasn't a CBS Evening News story. It was a 60 Minutes II segment. As a segment presenter Rather was significantly more involved than he would be in his regular anchor duties. He conducted numerous interviews for the story and at least one of the document experts told him personally that the documents CBS possessed could not be authenticated because they were poor quality copies.

    Furthermore, Rather continued to stick by the story even after it had been proven false.

    Aftermath
    In the end, it is not clear to what degree the story influenced the 2004 Presidential Election.

    CBS apologized to viewers, terminated Mary Mapes, and demanded the resignations of Senior Vice President Betsy West, who had been in charge of all prime time newscasts, 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard, and Howard's top deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy. Murphy and West resigned on February 25, 2005,[61] and after settling a legal dispute regarding his level of responsibility for the segment, Josh Howard resigned on March 25, 2005.[62]

    Dan Rather also resigned as anchorman in 2005. It is unclear whether or not Rather's retirement was directly caused by this incident, although many believe that he had to step down a year earlier than planned.[63]

    On November 7, 2006, Rather defended the report in a radio interview, and rejected the CBS investigation's findings. In response, CBS spokesman Kevin Tedesco told the Associated Press, "CBS News stands by the report the independent panel issued on this matter and to this day, no one has been able to authenticate the documents in question."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathergate

    Sorry Dan, you lose. However I believe that, even if Rather doesn't have a leg to stand on in this case, CBS will settle out of court to avoid any further embarassment.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JustBob
    Sorry Dan, you lose. However I believe that, even if Rather doesn't have a leg to stand on in this case, CBS will settle out of court to avoid any further embarassment.
    Rather stated publicly on Larry King Live that he will not settle out of court. He claims that he is not in it for the money. Maybe, but if he's smart, he'll sign on the dotted line and disappear in Tahiti.

    GG

  14. #14
    Didn't CBS have to deal with something similar regarding a story about tobacco companies? If I recall Russel Crowe was in a movie about that, though I don't know how much artistic license was taken.

    CBS and other networks have taken a big credibility hit after cheerleading the current administration into Iraq. If Rather wins this lawsuit it will be another blow. Either way, I have to give props to Rather for taking on the administration when no one else would (bar Michael Moore). It took Katrina to wake the rest of the media up.

  15. #15

    Arrow Moyers on Buying the War

    Quote Originally Posted by rollingstone
    CBS and other networks have taken a big credibility hit after cheerleading the current administration into Iraq.
    I agree. Bill Moyers exposed the complicity of mainstream media in cheerleading the war. Here is a Youtube excerpt:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Kngf803dQ

    After watching this documentary, I became downright cynical on mainstream media. I used to only be skeptical. Here is some more:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygb5u...elated&search=

    Thank God there are still good old fashion investigative journalists who actually look at the facts.

    GG
    Last edited by General Gonad; 09-24-2007 at 11:51 PM.

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