Closing the Rathergate?
Tonight, Dan Rather anchored his last CBS Evening News broadcast. The network followed this with a special farewell. And I didn't watch any of it. Since I haven't tuned into Dan for the past two decades, why would I start now? Some will be happy about Dan's departure. Some will even gloat. Some will probably be unhappy. Regardless, this isn't a time for any of that.
My guess is that tonight Dan won't admit to using forged documents. Won't admit to having a liberal bias. And certainly, won't admit to trying to influence a Presidential Election by misleading the American people. There's very little doubt that the documents were forged and hanging on to any hope that these were copies of real documents, simply makes him look Rather silly. (Sorry, just couldn't control myself.)
For the next day or so, there will be talk about this being an end to an era and the importance of Dan Rather's legacy. If the end to an era means an end to the tremendous influence of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news anchors, that's probably true because this scandal caused a very big loss of public trust. It's probably why so many of his colleagues have been a little less kind to him lately. If the end to an era means a loss of control by the so-called mainstream media, you better think again. Network news, daily newspapers, newsmagazines and the Public Broadcasting System or what we probably should call the old media are still kings of the hill in the number of people they reach.
Dan Rather's legacy has already taken a lot of hits from the Internet, Talk Radio and Fox News. He has taken some hits from the old media and will take more. They need to create some distance between themselves and Mr. Rather. Ironically, the truth is that all the old media is just as responsible for Dan's disaster because they stopped critiquing and criticizing each other a long time ago. When very little gets challenged, someone is bound to think that anything goes.
Still, there are the forgeries. Why is it that we don't know who created these documents? This was a serious matter during the elections and remains a serious matter. It is just as important as the Watergate break-ins. Who was responsible? Was it someone who hated the President? Was it someone from the media who was politically biased? Was it someone form one of the political campaigns? Was it someone from a foreign country trying to fix the results of an American election?