The Heroic Dan Rather. Really.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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Dan Rather recently filed a $70M lawsuit against against CBS, its chief executive Leslie Moonves, former network president Andrew Heyward, CBS’s parent company Viacom, and Viacom’s Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone. (See complaint here.)

Consider the first paragraph on the fourth page of the complaint. According to Rather, CBS chose to jettison both himself and the Texas Air National Guard story because, “CBS’s parent company, Viacom, and it Chief Executive Officer, Sumner Redstone, considered it to be in its corporate interest to curry favor with the Bush administration.”

Consider CBS’s handling of a far more serious Bush administration scandal, the torture of Iraqis by American forces at Abu Ghraib prison, as described on pages 11 and 12 of the complaint. According to Rather, “Despite the story’s importance, and because of the negative impact the story would have on the Bush administration, with which Viacom and CBS wished to curry favor, CBS management attempted to bury it.”

“Even after obtaining nearly a dozen now notorious photographs,” continues the complaint, “which made it impossible to deny the accuracy of the story, Mr. Heyward and Ms. West continued to delay the story for an additional three weeks… CBS imposed the unusual restrictions that the story would be aired only once, that it would not be preceded by on-air promotion, and that it would not be referenced on the CBS Evening News.”

Fair and balanced and truth-telling and objective? The TV and cable networks are the establishment’ss press, and the only truly free press is right here on the Internet, of course.

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