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Dan Rather to Step Down as CBS Anchor

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Dan Rather, the discredited CBS anchor, was dunked on after trying to dunk on the “Let’s Go Brandon” crowd.
Late Wednesday night, Rather tweeted his version on the famous “Let’s Go Brandon” slogan, which has been used to mock Vice President Joe Biden.
“#LetsGoBrandonReallyMeans Rather wrote, “You can’t handle the truth.”
For several Twitter users, the comment was ironic since Rather had previously stood down as a CBS anchor after broadcasting a report that used allegedly faked papers to cast doubt on President Bush’s service in the National Guard. Several others chastised him for it, citing Rather’s own connection with “truth.”
“Dan,” tweeted right-wing pundit John Cardillo. Remember when you and your producer made up memos to wreck Bush 43’s administration, only to be exposed, fired, and publicly shamed? “Do you recall the truth?”
“Says the guy who was fired for reporting on fabrications and falsehoods about George W. Bush. You can’t make something like this up. Joe Pagliarulo, presenter of the radio talk program “Let’s Go Dan Rather!” wrote.

Dan Rather
Veteran newsman Dan Rather (search) announced Tuesday that he would step down as anchor of “CBS Evening News” in March, the 24th anniversary of his taking over the job from Walter Cronkite.

LetsGoBrandonReallyMeans “The truth is too much for you.”

Dan Rather (@DanRather) (@DanRather) (@DanRather) (@DanRather) (@ 30th of December, 2021
“Dan Rather is not simply a legend – he’s the namesake of new prizes commemorating his career and the work of today’s journalists,” said Jay Bernhardt, dean of Moody College of Communication.
After a reporter stated that NASCAR fans yelling “F— Joe Biden” were really shouting “Let’s Go Brandon” in support of driver Brandon Brown, the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” was coined. It’s now become a term for Biden’s detractors, as well as the media, who overlook the president’s grievances.
Dan Rather (search), a veteran journalist, revealed Tuesday that he would stand down as anchor of “CBS Evening News” in March, 24 years after succeeding Walter Cronkite.
The action comes only months after Rather, 73, was chastised for airing a contentious “60 Minutes II” report about President Bush’s National Guard service, which later turned out to be based on apparently fraudulent papers.
Rather said that he will continue to serve as a reporter for CBS News on both “60 Minutes” editions.
“At heart, I’ve always been and will always be a ‘hard news’ investigative reporter,” he stated. “I am now looking forward to devoting my whole life to that kind of reporting.”
Rather announced his departure to his audience halfway through his nightly report on Tuesday.
“It has been and continues to be an honor to be invited inside your homes in the evening, and I thank you for your trust,” he added.
In announcing the shift, Rather made no mention of the National Guard report, instead stating that he and CBS management had determined last summer that the best moment to go would be after the Nov. 2 election.
“I believe he is capable of doing so. It’s a wise decision. He’s been on the air for almost 15 years, since [Walter] Cronkite retired… so he’s had a nice run, and it’s been terrific “Andy Rooney, a CBS colleague, said reporters.
CBS has wanted Rather to walk out of the anchor position for some time, according to David Blum, author of this year’s “Tick… Tick… Tick…: The Long Life & Turbulent Times of ’60 Minutes,'” who spoke to FOX News.
“CBS has long wanted to get rid of Rather, replace him, and boost the numbers, at least in recent years. They’ve been in third place for quite some time. There was nothing unexpected that transpired “he said
In-house contenders John Roberts and Scott Pelley are regularly cited, but CBS News, which ranks third in nightly news ratings after NBC and ABC, will also explore outside, though the network has made no choice for a successor.
Following the news on Tuesday, network officials applauded Rather.
“For more than 40 years, he has been an eyewitness to the most momentous events and has played a critical role in informing the American people about those events and their greater meaning,” CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves (search) stated.
With the National Guard story from September, CBS felt it had a big scoop, saying that President Bush had gotten special treatment to join the guard and remain in the US during the Vietnam War, despite failing to meet the service’s qualifications.
However, skeptics questioned the account right after, claiming that a paper reportedly signed by Bush’s late squadron commander seemed to be a forgery. Before CBS appointed the investigation group, Rather apologized.
“We made a mistake in judgment,” Rather said, “and I apologize.”
A two-man independent investigating panel’s report on what went wrong with the National Guard tale is expected soon. Rather broke the news and supported it at first when it was attacked.
Rather made his statement eight days before his NBC opponent, Tom Brokaw (search), was set to stand down as anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and be replaced by Brian Williams (search).
For more than two decades, the trinity of Rather, Brokaw, and ABC’s Peter Jennings (search) has governed network news. After taking over for Cronkite in 1981, Rather dominated the ratings, but he was eventually eclipsed by Jennings and then Brokaw. Each week, his nightly news presentation is a distant third in the ratings.
The guard narrative, Rather told The Associated Press, had nothing to do with his statement.
“Everyone will have their own opinions about this,” he said in an interview. “But… this was a distinct choice aside from that.”
Rather stated that talks with CBS executives about when he would depart started in 1999, were put on hold following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and then resumed last summer. He claimed he and Moonves decided on a date for his retirement early next year, and Rather chose March 9th, the 24th anniversary of Cronkite’s death.
According to Ken Auletta, media critic for The New Yorker magazine, CBS News and Rather were definitely debating whether to make the statement before or after the investigative panel’s publication.
“I’m sure one of the things Rather was thinking about here was his legacy,” added Auletta. “It must be disheartening for a person like him who has spent 24 years doing this and developing a career to have his reputation tarnished by an incident over which he had no control.”
Rather joined CBS News in 1962 and covered President John F. Kennedy’s murder in Dallas a year later. His Texas origins were clear in his folksy aphorisms. During the Nixon era, he worked as a White House reporter, and his aggressive manner was recorded in a notable occasion when Nixon mumbled to him during a press conference, “Are you running for something?”
Rather retorted, “No, sir, Mr. President.” “Are you here?”
Rather’s continuous coverage in the aftermath of September 11 garnered plaudits, along with that of Jennings and Brokaw, for assisting a country in coming to terms with an inconceivable catastrophe. He had a number of firsts, including anchoring the CBS report that revealed the first images from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal earlier this year.
His career, however, was marred by incidents that revealed a tightly wound persona. He stormed off the nightly news set in 1987, enraged, because CBS had delayed the show for a tennis match, leaving the network with six minutes of dead air. Four months later, incensed by Rather’s line of inquiry, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush wondered whether he’d want his career to be evaluated by the walk-off.
According to Rather, he was once approached on a New York street by a weird guy who beat him up and said, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” It became a strange cultural landmark, with R.E.M. writing a song about it.
“The strange things that occurred to him, the mugging and everything,” said Bob Lee, president of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, and chairman of CBS’s affiliate board. “But he’s always been a fierce competitor and someone who was passionate about the nightly news. I wish he was leaving on a high note.”
“I’m delighted for Dan that he’s come to a resolution about his own life, as I have in my situation,” Brokaw remarked.
“Dan and I have known one other for a long, long time, both professionally and personally,” Brokaw added. “On the competitive side, there might be little snags here and there, but considering all we’ve gone through, we have a fairly solid bond. As a result, I send him my best wishes.”
According to ABC News, Jennings was on the road and could not be contacted for comment right away.
Rather said of his successor, “I’m hoping it’ll be someone from inside. But whomever it is, they will have my unwavering support and encouragement. I think the greatest thing I can do is keep out of the way.”
In an age of immediate Internet and cable news, the change is expected to raise fresh doubts about the long-term sustainability of nightly news programs, which have been suffering from dropping ratings for years.
Rather has long been accused of having a leftist slant by opponents, and there’s even a website dedicated to the idea. The report about the National Guard enraged those opponents. Following Rather’s decision on Tuesday, one Republican representative from Pennsylvania issued a statement saying, “Goodbye, Rather.”
“To many people across the globe, Dan Rather has been a media icon for more than a quarter-century, but not to me,” Rep. According to Bill Shuster. “Rather has allowed his leftist slant to affect the news rather than report it throughout the duration of his career.”
While the guard incident has undoubtedly harmed Rather in his last months on the job, CBS News President Andrew Heyward expressed optimism that viewers will recognize the longtime newsman’s significance in broadcast history.
“He’s covered every issue on a national level since the killing of President John F. Kennedy, and anybody who looks at his legacy in a fair way will understand the bigger perspective,” Heyward said.
Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University, concurred.
“I believe Dan Rather is the epitome of the tireless and powerful television journalist,” Jones stated. “I hold him in great regard.”

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