Skip to comments.The Education of Dan Rather (Noonan's fair and balanced Rather's career critique)
Posted on 12/02/2004 4:39:56 AM PST by Jose Roberto
Ultimately this is what I think was true about Dan and his career. It's not very nice but I think it is true. He was a young, modestly educated Texas boy from nowhere, with no connections and a humble background. He had great gifts, though: physical strength, attractiveness, ambition, commitment and drive. He wanted to be a star. He was willing to learn and willing to pay his dues.
He had a strong Texas accent, but they let him know he wasn't in Texas anymore. I remember once a nice man, an executive producer, confided in me that he'd known Dan from the early days, from when he first came up to New York. He laughed, not completely unkindly, and told me Dan wore the wrong suits. I wish I could remember exactly what he said but it was something like, "He had a yellow suit!" There was a sense of: We educated him. Dan wound up in pinstripe suits made in London. Like Cyrus Vance. Like Clark Clifford. He got educated. He fit right in. And much of what he'd learned--from the civil rights movement, from Vietnam and from Watergate--allowed him to think he was rising in the right way and with the right crew and the right thinking.
People are complicated, careers are complicated, motives are complicated. Dan Rather did some great work on stories that demanded physical courage. He loved the news, and often made it look like the most noble of enterprises. He had guts and fortitude. Those stories he covered that touched on politics were unfortunately and consistently marred by liberal political bias, and in this he was like too many in his profession. But this is changing. The old hegemony has given way. The old dominance is over. Good thing. Great thing. Onward.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
Excellent... Peggy Noonan is such a class act.
And it worked. "Dan Rather Reporting" actually got something of a conservative following, not because it was a conservative show--it wasn't--but because it actually put forward the conservative point of view in what might be called a fair and balanced way.
Aha! So Dan Rather owed his success to Peggy Noonan's brilliant writing, who made his show "fair and balanced" and drew a large conservative audience because of that. It was her words, her script, that made him a success. After she left, his looney liberal rantings took center stage and his ratings began to slip. I hope Dan sent YOU some flowers, Peggy, because you did the impossible: Made a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Sheeza, you are right on! Dan Rather owes much of his career to Peggy Noonan who wrote him fair and balanced essays for public consumption. Then we saw the real Dan Rather when he tried to bring Bush 43 down with his forged memos.
From reading the intro, it really does sound like he was a very good useful idiot.
The entire article is wonderfully written....Noonan is magnificent
"Now respectfully, when you start talking about a liberal agenda and all the, quote, 'liberal bias' in the media, I quite frankly, and I say this respectfully but candidly to you, I don't know what you're talking about." Dan Rather to talk radio host Mike Rosen of KOA Denver, November 28, 1995.
Rather repeatedly lied when he claimed no liberal bias at SeeBS, but as Ms. Noonan pointed out, he made it very clear that he was liberal and the show was liberal.
Red America knew you were a liar along, Dan RATher.
You are right, this piece is "fair and balanced".
Really? I don't think Peggy is at her best here, at all--wonder why she took this assignment...Her praise is hedged and her prose is occluded...murky. Doesn't even read like her...
I imagine that you could look among the stable of CBS staff announcers and find many that are superior to ol' Dan's news presentation abilities.
This part of the article can explain a lot about Rather. It's similiar to a businessman trying to get ahead in the corporate world. Only the corporation is the MSM and it involves twisting reality for millions of viewers to produce a desired outcome.
"Really? I don't think Peggy is at her best here, at all--wonder why she took this assignment...Her praise is hedged and her prose is occluded...murky. Doesn't even read like her..."
Peggy probably is not at her best here. It's difficult to praise someone with whom you so fundamentally disagree; it is equally difficult to criticize someone who has helped you along the way. But everyone she knows is asking what she thinks, so she felt she had to respond. As she said, she thinks a lot of things, is trying to put it together in a way that makes sense, and it can be hard. I think we can give her a break on this one.
"Mr. Bush decked him instead, and with a question that reverberates: How would you like your whole career to be judged by one mistake?"
After papergate, the question can be changed to: How do you like your whole career being judged by one mistake?
And yet. Dan Rather was one of the great breaking-news reporters of our time. Hurricanes, earthquakes, big sudden stuff--he loved it, and he knew how to cover it. A friend reminded me of the beauty with which Dan asked for silence as CBS's cameras lingered on the sun going down on quake-ravaged San Francisco in 1989. And I think of his delicate coverage of stories like Princess Diana's funeral
I think that 1989/90 was the critical time when Dan Rather's head exceeded his hat size. He started believing too much of his own press, and started seeing himself as the story.
I remember watching Dan Rather covering the Oklahoma City bombing. He interviewed the man on the scene responsible for the search and rescue operations, I think it was the Fire Chief, though maybe he was Police. After wasting the man's time with obvious questions for five minutes, Dan Rather had filled his airtime and was ready to hand off. Before he let the Chief go, he asked him, on air, to remain available in case he, Dan Rather, needed him again later.
It was a stunning visual example of where Dan Rather though he fitted into a story. Of all the people at that scene, Dan Rather considered himself to be the most important, and felt that everyone, even the Commander at the scene, should make themselves available if he needed them.
Peggy Noonan bump
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