Dan Rather, the hard-charging anchorman who dominated CBS News for more than two decades but whose final months were clouded by |incredibly bad judgment a discredited story on the presidents military service, is leaving CBS after 44 years, the network announced Tuesday.
The 74-year-old Rather has complained of being virtually forgotten at CBS Corp. since his exit as anchor last year, six months after the story on President Bushs military service aired. He has said he is considering an offer to do a weekly show at the HDNet high-definition network. That network....hmm....what's the frequency, Kenneth?
|Nah nah nah-nah, nah nah nah-nah, hey hey, goodbye!|
There will always be a part of Dan Rather at CBS News, said Sean McManus, CBS News president. He is truly a reporters reporter, and he has helped to train several generations of broadcast journalists. His legacy cannot be replicated." No kidding.
Rather said that his departure before the end of his contract represented CBS acknowledgment, after a protracted struggle, that they had not lived up to their obligation to allow me to do substantive work there. Considering the beating the "Tiffany Network" took from your Bush Derangement Syndrome and sloppy verification, that's understandable...
It isnt in me to sit around doing nothing, he said. So I will do the work I love elsewhere, and I look forward to sharing details about that soon. Oh, goody, can he tag team with Bill Moyers??
McManus, in an interview, would not discuss details of what CBS had offered Rather. He said it had become clear that CBS and Rather would not be able to agree on a role that satisfied both parties.
It was obviously very difficult because I have enormous respect for what Dan has brought to CBS News and what he meant to CBS News, but I had to make the tough decision of what direction in which to go, and this is what I chose, he said.
Rather, whose final CBS News report aired on CBS Sunday Morning last weekend, will be the subject of a prime-time special on his career next fall, CBS said. Aww, cheer up, Dan! You'll at least get to see your eulogy before you die...
The network also said it had made a contribution to Rathers alma mater, Sam Houston State University. "Here's $5. We DO want a receipt!"
The Texan has worked at CBS News since 1962, covering stories ranging from the Kennedy assassination to the 2001 terrorist attacks. He was the CBS Evening News anchor who replaced Walter Cronkite in 1981 until signing off with the admonition courage on March 9, 2005.
Rather apparently hadnt even seen the report questioning Bushs Vietnam-era National Guard service before introducing it on the air in September 2004. When CBS News couldnt substantiate the story following questions about its sources, Rather became a symbol of the incident even as he escaped official blame.
Since then, Rathers on-air appearances have been infrequent. He contributed eight stories to 60 Minutes this season, about half the airtime of most full-time correspondents there. His most recent 60 Minutes story, a profile of Whole Foods Market, aired June 4.
In interviews last week, Rather made clear the professional divorce was imminent. Rather said CBS had offered him an office but no real assignments.
For more than two decades, Rather dominated broadcast news along with NBCs Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings of ABC. They were the faces seen every evening and whenever big news broke.
Rather always considered himself a reporter first, and the habit of news anchors to travel to the scenes of big stories is largely his legacy. His interview with Saddam Hussein in 2003 was the last given by the Iraqi leader before he was toppled.
With his intense on-air demeanor, Rather also had his detractors, and his broadcast was a distant third in the evening news ratings at the time he stepped down. CBS News ratings have rebounded under short-term successor Bob Schieffer; Katie Couric will take over the broadcast in September.