"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, March 07, 2005

Rather Badly Behaved: Dan's First Big Hit

The Weekly Standard has a fascinating story about allegedly unethical conduct by Dan Rather during the tense moments following the Kennedy assassination.

Those who recall the false AP story about Bush supporters cheering news of Bill Clinton's heart problem will experience deja vu. Here's a taste:

It was a different lie--one delivered on national news, and at the expense of children--that caused Rather trouble at the time. As reporters from around the world descended on the Texas city, Rather went on the air with a local Methodist minister who made a stunning claim: Children at Dallas's University Park Elementary School had cheered when told of the president's death.

The tale was perfect for the moment, reinforcing the notion among distant media elites that Dallas was a reactionary "City of Hate." It slyly played to a local audience, too: The school named was in upper-income University Park, one of two adjacent municipal enclaves that shared a school district and a reputation for fiercely protected, lily-white privilege. Finally, for the ambitious Rather--a native Texan and then a Dallas resident--the account represented the very sort of revealing, local dirt that the throngs of out-of-town competitors would have to work far harder to get.

Except that it wasn't true, and Rather knew it, Barker says.

2 comments:

Jay D. Homnick said...

That's Rather for you, minting counterfeit Dallas to gain currency in broader markets. Nor, over the years, has he offered any change.

Greg said...

For Rather, it was always about the principal rather than the principle.