Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dan Rather Lawsuit

Dan Rather photo posted by itsathird on Flickr

Dan Rather is bravely putting CBS on the hot seat with this lawsuit. I hope he wins. I firmly believe Rather was ousted through the pressure of the right wing. And from what I hear the story which resulted in Rather's departure from CBS turns out to be true. Of course it was. I hear Rather has obtained and read memos and emails from senior executives at CBS. Don't know whether we will ever hear about them during the trial, but certainly hope Rather tells us about them later.

I read a comment on the Huffington Post where the commentator brings up how CBS ousted The Smother Brothers Show after they denounced Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War one too many times. The show was still high in the ratings. Shame on CBS for caving in to the Republicans. What happened to freedom of the press?

I am pasting an email I sent out to friends shortly after Mr. Rather left CBS. He was scheduled to be on Larry King Live that evening. The email was written straight from my heart. I have the utmost respect for Dan Rather and his journalistic integrity. Remember Abu Ghraib? Guess who broke that story? Dan the man. That's who.

July 12, 2006

About ten years ago, I read in the L.A. Times that Mr. Rather spoke at a national journalists convention in Texas and said something along these lines: "If the American public keeps wanting us to lead with Michael Jackson stories, then that is what the networks will do. It is the American people who must demand the hard hitting stories so advertisers will continue to buy time on our networks."

And that my friends is the sad state of affairs for journalism. Michael Jackson sells the SUV, the fast food, or cosmetic surgery...then again he might be the poster boy against cosmetic surgery.

The advertisers are paying millions to have their ads air in the hopes the folks who will buy their products are stupid enough to think Jackson and little boys should be lead stories. Entertainment Tonight should be covering that nonsense.

Let me tell you something kids, I just worked a commercial shoot where the budget was anywhere from 2.5 million to 3.5 million. If you think the advertisers are paying that much to make a commercial and another million to have it air on the networks are not hoping that their ads will make you run out and buy their products, I really beg to differ.

The power of advertising is prevalent in our capitalist society. Literally has a strangle hold on it. Why isn't anyone discussing all the fast food commercials that stream on our television incessantly through the night as a culprit in the obesity crisis we suffer from in America? Scared?

Yes I know that we are a society in a rush now days, but come on. I consider myself immune from the advertisers, and yet I find myself running for my kitchen on occasion looking for a snack because of those ads. Anyway, didn't mean to go on and on.

Back on topic, Dan Rather was the only network journalist who traveled to Colombia when I was there teaching in 1998-2000. The only one. And what was happening in Colombia should have been lead stories, not Micheal Jackson and his little boys.

I heard on NPR that Dan Rather has seen the Clooney film, Good Night and Good Luck five times. Three times he said he went by himself. I am sure he can relate to Ed Murrow who was also kicked out for being a hard hitting journalist simply trying to get the truth out to the American public.

The truth is out there and I want Dan Rather back giving it to me.

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