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This section compares statements Dan Rather has made with others on the same subjects.
Be Wary of Rich Cabinet Members?
On January 27, 1993, the Associated Press reported that nine of President Bill Clinton's cabinet appointees were millionaires. On January 23, 2001, the AP reported that President George W. Bush's nominees were "mostly millionaires." Dan Rather decided to follow the AP's lead in the Bush story, but not with the Clinton story. Rather never mentioned--throughout all eight years--that there were millionaires in Clinton's cabinets:
"The Clinton Cabinet is now complete."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 11, 1993
Hard and Soft Interviews
During and after his interviews with Republican politicians, Rather prides himself on a take-no-prisoners approach but when it comes to Democrats, Rather's skepticism disappears. For an extended version of this argument, see our Arnold Schwarzenegger section.
"Do powder puff, not probing interviews. Stay away from controversial subjects. Kiss ass, move with the mass, and for heaven and ratings' sake, don't make anybody mad -- certainly not anybody you're covering, and especially not the Mayor, the Governor, the Senator, the Vice President, or the President, or anybody in a position of power. Make nice, not news."
--Dan Rather complaining to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, September 1993.
New president Bill Clinton congratulated Dan Rather on his on-air partnership with Connie Chung:
"Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. President. If we could be one-one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been together in the White House, we'd take it right now and walk away winners."
--Dan Rather at a meeting for CBS affiliates, May 27, 1993. Quoted in Columbia Journalism Review Sept./Oct. 1993.
Promise-keeping vs. Flank-pleasing
One of President Bill Clinton's first acts in 1993 was to repeal the ban on federal funding for international groups that assist in abortions. One of President George W. Bush's first acts was to reinstate that ban. In so doing, Clinton kept a "promise" while Bush pleased "the right flank of his party":
"Up next here on the CBS Evening News, President Bush's fast anti-abortion action."
"This was President Bush's first day at the office, and he did something to quickly please the right flank in his party. He re-instituted an anti-abortion policy that had been in place during his father's term and the Reagan presidency, but was lifted during the Clinton years. CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts has more about the new President Bush in the Oval Office."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22, 2001.
Rather Versus His CBS Colleagues
"I walk out every day trying to have a big ‘I’ for independence stamped right in the middle of my forehead. I try to play no favorites, pull no punches."
--Dan Rather at a TV critics meeting in Los Angeles, July 1992.
"Everybody knows that there's a liberal, that there's a heavy liberal persuasion among correspondents."
--Walter Cronkite, former CBS anchor, at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner, March 21, 1996.
"I believe that most of us reporters are liberal...we are inclined to side with the powerless rather than the powerful. If that is what makes us liberals, so be it."
--Walter Cronkite in his syndicated column, August 6, 2003.
When Abusing Women is Okay
"It is related to what women say, and with justification, about rape charges. If you think you've been raped or you know you have and you come forward with charges, then you suddenly are the person who has to pay the price."
--Dan Rather in a CBS Special Report during the hearings, October 11, 1991.
Rather was asked why he didn't air any reports on Juanita Broaddrick's
"I don't remember all the details of Juanita Broaddrick. But I will say that -- and you can castigate me if you like. When the charge has something to do with somebody's private sex life, I would prefer not to run any of it."
--Dan Rather on FNC's O'Reilly Factor, May 15, 2001.
Rather has always viewed polls with skepticism; during President Clinton's impeachment, however, he revised his opinion:
"Those market researchers...are playing games with you and me and with this entire country." "Their so-called samples of opinion are no more accurate or reliable than my grandmother's big toe was when it came to predicting the weather."
--Dan Rather speaking at the forty-eighth annual conference of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, September 29, 1993.
"[B]y more than two to one Americans do not consider what Kevorkian did, injecting a terminally ill patient with legal drugs at the patient's request, to be the same as murder. You may want to note that laws are not supposed to be enforced on the basis of public opinion polls."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, November 25, 1998.
"Several poll questions also indicate the American public wants an end to the investigation of the President's private life, including the Ken Starr investigation of the Monica Lewinsky case. But as CBS's chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer reports, Kenneth Starr made it clear today by word and deed that he couldn't disagree more."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, April 2, 1998.
"In a CBS News poll out tonight just 29 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial investigation of President Clinton. And 57 percent want Starr to drop his investigation of the President's personal life."
--Dan Rather CBS Evening News, May 8, 1998.
"On the Republican agenda for welfare reform, a balanced budget and school prayer, our poll found no public consensus on making these changes. But that isn't stopping anyone in Washington from piping up with proposals to cut government programs and reduce taxes."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, December 14, 1994. See also polls
When to Worry About Missile Secrets
When Lying's Okay
"The man [Oliver North] Presidents Reagan and Bush branded an American hero was portrayed in court today as a liar and a thief."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, April 14, 1989.
"Despite these statements [by Nancy Reagan and Al Gore] that North is a documented liar, North, according to the polls, has a strong chance of defeating incumbent Democrat and former Marine in Vietnam, Charles Robb....What's going on here?"
--Dan Rather reporting on Oliver North's run for the Senate on the CBS Evening News, October 28, 1994.
"[W]hen you boil it down, there obviously was some lying by someone. There obviously was some lying by the President. It was all part of a cover story at base to cover up a sexual relation."
--Dan Rather during CBS live coverage of the Senate trial to remove the President, February 6, 1999.
"What a comeback for President Clinton! Right after the Monica Lewinsky story broke there was widespread talk of possible resignation or impeachment, but look at this: A CBS News poll out tonight indicates the President with his highest job approval rate ever, 73 percent, that's up 16 points since the State of the Union address."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 29, 1998.
Shame on the Rich (Some of Them)
During the late eighties and late nineties, the economy did well and many new millionaires and billionaires were created. The liberal Economic Policy Institute reported that there was a large gap between the rich and the poor in the eighties and that in the nineties the gap got even larger. During the eighties, Rather blamed the alleged disparity on the Republican president (Reagan) but did not mention it during the Clinton years.
"[I]t is not partisan to say that during the Clinton years the economy has been outstandingly good. That's a fact."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, May 12, 1999.
"Everyone knows the rich got richer in the 1980s. Now a new study shows how dramatic the change was. According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than half of America's new wealth went to the richest one-half of one percent of families. The bottom 60 percent of families in income saw no gain or got poorer."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, October 29, 1992.
Should We Worry about the People's Business?
"For his part, what President Clinton did today included trying to re-focus public attention on the economy, on America's own social problems and on a very important international problem. Not on his problems."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, September 24, 1998.
When Leaks are Okay
All reporters love leaks from knowledgeable sources. Dan Rather is no exception--but only as long as they don't harm Democrats.
Dan Rather immediately blamed the "Republican-backed" and suggested the whole affair was a Republican plot to sabotage Gore's big day. As it turned out, the leak's source was a Carter-appointed judge who had inadvertently revealed the information. Rather never apologized or issued a correction.
"Timing is everything. Al Gore must stand and deliver here tonight as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. And now Gore must do so against the backdrop of a potentially damaging, carefully orchestrated story leak about President Clinton. The story is that Republican-backed special prosecutor Robert Ray, Ken Starr's successor, has a new grand jury looking into possible criminal charges against the president growing out of Mr. Clinton's sex life."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, August 17, 2000.
"You don't have to be a cynic to note that this has all the earmarks of a carefully orchestrated, politically motivated leak. [...] Any reporter who's spent time on the police beat learns to look for motive. So you ask yourself -- what group has the motive to see that such a leak would occur at such a time, hours before Gore is set to accept his party's nomination in the most important speech of his political life?"
--Dan Rather in a "Rather's Notebook" column posted on CBS News's Web site but since removed.
"The Clintons have accused Starr of illegal, false and self-serving leaks of grand jury testimony in a campaign to get the Clintons at all costs, as they see it."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 24, 1998.
"First Lady Hillary Clinton targeted by leaks in the Republican Whitewater offensive..."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, June 17, 1996.
President Bush denounced the leak and the Senate decided to investigate the leak to see who was responsible. Rather speaks of the Senate's decision:
"A process has been set in motion that leads from one first amendment violation to another, like falling dominos."
--Dan Rather speaking at the National Press Club, March 16, 1992.
Four days before the 1992 elections, Iran-contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh leaked some information damaging to George Bush's reelection bid, but instead of denouncing the (illegal) leak, Rather merely relayed it:
"There is new written evidence tonight concerning what President Bush knew -- and when he knew -- about the secret deal that sent some of America's best missiles to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. The grand jury evidence raises new questions about whether Mr. Bush is telling the truth."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, October 30, 1992.
Prosecutor or Persecutor?
"Ken Starr relentlessly pursues Bill Clinton and his presidency,"
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, August 19, 1998.
"So he slogs on."
--Dan Rather, speaking of Kenneth Starr, Rather Reporting, April 22, 1998.
"I Don't Do Editorials"
"I do believe in what's become an archaic word for journalists, objectivity. You know my job is to be accurate, be fair, and in so far as it's humanly possible, to keep my feelings out of every story."
--Dan Rather to Tim Russert on CNBC, September 20, 1997.
"[I]t's not my job to agree or disagree, outrage or otherwise."
--Dan Rather to George W. Bush on CBS News, 1992, quoted in Bush's 1999 book, A Promise to Keep.
"President Bush said last night our first obligation is to the most vulnerable: infants, poor mothers, children living in poverty. Those sentiments clash with the reality of a decade which has found the federal government offering school children less food for thought."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 1989.
Adopting the Lexicon
Rather unqualifiedly adopts the word usage of groups and people favoring additional campaign finance laws but always qualifies his usage of the term "partial birth abortion." Rather's treatment of dilation and extraction abortions is value-neutral and journalistically correct; his treatment of campaign finance is not.
"Medicine, morality and politics also figure prominently in the latest fight in Congress over abortion law. Big political trouble is building here. At issue again, mid- and and late-term abortions that anti-abortion groups call, quote, "partial-birth abortions.""
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 12, 1997.
"In Washington, the stage is set now for President Clinton's latest veto showdown with Congress over abortion policy. The flashpoint again: A U.S. Senate vote today to ban one type of later-term abortions, what anti-abortion groups call, quote, "partial-birth abortions."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, May 20, 1997.
"The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to decide a case involving money and politics. At issue: the constitutionality of some federal limits on money spent by political parties to help candidates. This comes at a time when the unlimited shoveling of cash into political parties by special interests is a growing concern, and as CBS's Anthony Mason reports, even some corporate givers are saying enough's enough."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, October 10, 2000.
"Much of what the conventions today are about is money, big special interest money, money that buys influence, buys financing in conventions and campaigns. Ed Bradley's going to report on the big-money core of this convention in a moment, so stay with us."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, August 2, 2000.
Political Labeling is Bad (Sometimes)
"Long-time Republican activist Ken Starr..."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22, 1998.
"The Bush forces went into federal court trying to stop the hand count. And at the same time, the Republican secretary of state, working under the Governor George Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, Republican secretary of state, trying to say anything past 5:00 tomorrow is illegal. That's her judgment."
--Dan Rather during a CBS News Special Report, November 13, 2000.
See also Florida Controversy.
When to Identify a Judge's Appointer
Two federal courts issued rulings. One ruling was favorable to Oliver North and the other favorable to Bill Clinton. The judges who ruled favorably for Oliver North were quickly identified by Rather as Reagan appointees. Not so in the other case, where the judge was a Clinton appointee.
"There was another ruling with possible far-reaching impact, this one issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS notified the powerful lobbying group calling itself the Christian Coalition that it is not entitled to the tax exempt status of a religious group. The reason given: Too much partisan political activity."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, June 10, 1999.
See also Interest Groups.
Many political groups have all-inclusive names. Two such are the Christian Coalition and the National Organization for Women. The CC's name sounds as if it is to represent all Christians, NOW's sounds as if it is to represent all women. Dan Rather calls the CC the, "quote, 'Christian Coalition'" because he does not think they speak for all Christians, but never says the, "quote, National Organization for Women."
Rather-approved Farm Help
Both President Clinton and the Republicans in Congress attempted to help farmers by subsidizing the prices of their goods.
Who's the Good Prosecutor? It Depends...
"In Washington there are new indications tonight at just how wide, deep, and aggressively special prosecutor Ken Starr is pushing to make the Secret Service tell what it knows about the President's personal life."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, July 13, 1998.
"...Starr, (who despises Clinton)..."
--Dan Rather in his syndicated column, August 12, 1998.
(See many more like these in our section on Starr.)
"[Elliot Richardson] had the example of Archibald Cox...to remind him that there was an alternative to compromising one's conscience."
--Dan Rather in Palace Guard, 1974.
"And the special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh, kept digging tirelessly, seeking convictions and, when convictions weren't to be had, seeking justice. He had the proof that wrongs had been committed--but by the time the trials began, the whole country had heard some of the confessions of the guilty parties, which helped to tangle up the judicial process. If crimes are committed in the government, then someone ought to be held accountable--that's the American way. So Walsh kept pressing."
--Dan Rather in The Camera Never Blinks Twice, 1994.
When Taped Phone Calls are Legitimate
How to Treat Presidential Scandals
"Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh said today that his investigation of the Iran-Contra criminal case is over." "Still unanswered, questions about the role of then-Vice President Bush."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, September 17, 1992.
"As this is written, President Clinton is facing yet another year of intensive scrutiny of his conduct in and out of office. A battery of special prosecutors (along with some private attorneys and much of the press) has pried into his business dealings, and his administration of government, even his private life. Some of the charges leveled against Bill Clinton have appeared legitimate, serious enough to drive him from office, then diminished on closer inspection. Others have appeared frivolous, prurient, tawdry - yet they don't go away."
--Dan Rather in Rolling Stone: The Seventies, 1998. print_file('footer'); ?>