Rather's Epilogue

Jim Geraghty, John Hinderaker, and I are quoted in today’s lead story in the USA Today on Dan Rather’s “retirement.”

Some of the bloggers, or Internet diarists, who raised the ruckus over the Guard story said they weren’t celebrating Rather’s departure. “There certainly will be people (in the blogging world) who feel vindicated,” said Kevin Aylward, an information technology consultant in Virginia who writes a blog on Wizbangblog.com. “But the issue was always whether (the Guard story) was done … to throw an election. So for me, the sense of relief came on Election Day. It didn’t work. Bush was re-elected.”

Said John Hinderaker, a Minneapolis lawyer and co-author of Power Line (powerlineblog.com): “I wouldn’t say I feel vindicated. I never felt we were in need of vindication. But now that the episode is pretty much behind us, I think it’s been a tribute to the power of the medium: the Internet.”

The bloggers, starting just hours after the 60 Minutes report, raised doubts about the Guard documents. They questioned, for example, whether the papers could have been produced on a 1970s-era typewriter. “Within a matter of hours, millions of people had seen that information,” Hinderaker said. “The biggest newspaper with the biggest resources and the biggest budget could not have done what we did that day.”

Some anti-Rather bloggers viewed Tuesday’s announcement with suspicion. “There’s no way CBS will face the music and admit that the 60 Minutes story was a cheap-shot, amateur, sloppy, partisan, nasty, half-witted bit of hackery,” Jim Geraghty wrote on Kerry Spot (at nationalreview.com).

In response, Rather said he was looking forward to report of the independent panel investigating the story: “The last line has not been written about what we did, how we did it and why we did it.” He said many CBS viewers have encouraged him: “They understand.”A longer version of my comments were provided here yesterday, but in regards to the USA Today mention, I’ll second Jim’s take, “It’s nice to be quoted in USA Today, but it is even nicer that a major newspaper recognizes how central the bloggers were to the final chapter of Rather’s career.”

On the topic of the Rathergate report, Jim Lindgren of The Volokh Conspiracy argues that If ever there were a situation for releasing a draft before releasing the final report, the CBS Rathergate investigation is it.

And on the lighter side, Scott Ott of ScrappleFace (and author of Axis of Weasels) suggests another target for Operation Early Retirement

Passing the buck: an exercise in open-source blogging
Election Math II

6 Comments

  1. Omni November 25, 2004
  2. EdWonk November 25, 2004
  3. julie November 25, 2004
  4. Nomorelies November 25, 2004
  5. BR November 25, 2004
  6. Hunter November 25, 2004