I’ve spent a fair portion of the afternoon on the phone with reporters. One of the frequently asked questions is something along the lines of:
Is their a sense of accomplishment?
[Depending on the interviewer the bold word changes to happiness, relief, joy, celebrations, etc..]
I’ve formulated my answer thought the day. It’s something to this effect:
Not really. Todays announcement that Dan Rather is retiring in March is anti-climactic.
The CBS 60 Minutes II Bush ANG memo episode was, perhaps, the pinnacle of the mainstream press attempting to tip the election to John Kerry. There were countless other lesser remembered incidents, but the Rathergate affair was the climactic moment.
The real moment of satisfaction was November 3rd, when is was clear the President Bush had won re-election. That was the day that I knew that Rather and his CBS co-horts had been defeated. They set out to destroy the President in the waning days of the campaign, and in the end (ironically enough) they had mostly destroyed themselves.
There’s still work to be done in holding CBS accountable, but by exposing their intense partisan hate of Bush, decades of goodwill toward CBS News was erased. History will write this as Rather’s folly.
Todays “retirement” is just the opening act in CBS’s Perfect Storm. The confluence of desperately sagging ratings, an aging anchor exposed, and a network void of leadership meant that Rather walked the velvet-lined plank today, so that others might survive.
The portion of the blogosphere that worked day and night on the Rathergate story is decidedly unimpressed:
- At Little Green Footballs, Charles Johnson has more details on the Thornburgh/Boccardi investigation, and from the wording it appears like a whitewash is coming.
Update: Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has an excellent roundup of reaction from bloggers and media observers.