Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rathergate revisited

The story of Dan Rather, the rightful heir of Walter Cronkite ("the Tet offensive was a disaster for the Americans") and Ed Murrow ("how dare you suggest my friend Lawrence Duggan was not an honourable man"), being caught out by the right-wing blogosphere led by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs is well known to all.

In my opinion that was a turning point for the MSM though the game is still being played out. Not only it showed CBS producers and anchormen using dubious methods to campaign in all but name for one presidential candidate but it reopened the debate about the media's role in the Vietnam fiasco. All to the good.

The story is not over as Mr Rather is suing CBS for breach of contract or, as Bernard Goldberg points out on his blog, for the restoration of his stature and legacy.

The posting is of extreme interest as it goes through the story again and points out a few additional facts that have been lost in the brouhaha. For one thing, Mary Mapes, the producer, had known for some time before the infamous programme went out that George W. Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but other pilots were deemed to be more experienced and were sent out ahead of him. Hmmm. A little different from that darling of the media, Bill Clinton.

There is also the point made in the very interesting discussion that joining the National Guard is an honourable thing to do and training to be a fighter pilot, which Bush did, is extremely hazardous at any time.

Read the whole posting and have a look at the comments.


  1. Thanks for the link. Our media is reliably vile in the way they cover (not) what is newsworthy. We have but one large paper that maintains professional standards (the WSJ) and that is almost all of it.
    One thing about the Times and Telegraph-I always enjoyed reading them when in the UK simply because they are lliterate(unlike our, ahem, Newspaper of Record) ;certainly the letters are and some of the columnists too. Too bad the reporting is clueless. On this side we get ignorant illiteracy all the time.

  2. Nevertheless, it is true that in the last 5 US elections the candidate with the superior record of service in the US military has lost ... I suspect that the post-Vietnam War generations don't care about military service as a criterion for their political choices.