It's axiomatic that people who've disgraced themselves are the last to realize it, or maybe the first to pretend they don't know. Take longtime CBS anchorman Dan Rather, who shredded his own reputation by smearing President Bush's military service with phony documents.
He's still at it, still in shameless self-denial, raging against the world, still pontificating about that which he has no standing to speak about: journalism ethics. On June 7, he mounted a soapbox at a far-left event in Minneapolis called the "National Conference for Media Reform," perhaps the last and perhaps the best forum interested in his opinion.
In front of this fervent group of leftists, Rather tried to put on Superman's cape and pledge to push back against the evil forces "that imperil journalism and impair democracy itself." In Rather's vision, blatantly biased reporting is not only what passes for "journalism," it is the lifeblood of democracy. Dismiss Dan Rather for a lack of professionalism, and suddenly, you're part of the corporate media vast right-wing conspiracy against Jeffersonian ideals.
Rather's address echoed the usual fire-and-brimstone radical of these proceedings, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers. What utter hypocrisy. What utter chutzpah it takes to rain rhetorical fire on the "corporate media" that signed their fat paychecks. Rather sat at the top of the "corporate media" mountain for decades. In between PBS gigs, Moyers shoveled his commentary nuggets at both CBS and NBC. Both became fabulously wealthy, courtesy of that awful "corporate media."
Rather's new hero in his speech was former Bush press spokesman Scott McClellan. No matter how evil McClellan was when he was in charge of "stonewalling" gallant White House correspondents, Rather felt he joined the forces of goodness and light and should be celebrated for underscoring that every media leftist knew: They had not given enough air time and enough glory to the left-wing forces who suggested that Saddam Hussein should have been left alone.
I'll never understand how Rather managed to give this speech with a straight face. Corporate media outlets made a decision -- "consciously or unconsciously, but unquestionably in a climate of fear" -- to swallow the Big Bad Saddam theory that Iraq's potential WMDs could not be tolerated in a post 9-11 world. To hear Rather talk, you would think he wasn't the lead anchorman on one of the top media outlets, responsible for those very broadcasts during this sorry period of allegedly weak-kneed major media cowardice.
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