Today was Dan Rather’s last day at CBS. He went out as damaged goods.
I never met him. We have no mutual friends. I don’t even want to comment on the ‘Bush papers’ that ultimately were his downfall.
It is interesting to note, no matter how far removed in time, I can’t think of Dan Rather without thinking of what happened to Walter Cronkite.
Most times, someone loses a job when someone else gets one. Beverly Johnson, a beautiful, very nice woman, was fired just before I was hired in Connecticut. Those decisions were made without my involvement. I always sensed it was different with Rather.
News coverage through the years implied, or sometimes outright said, he did not want Walter Cronkite to steal his thunder. When CBS gave him the job, keeping him from bolting, Cronkite’s fate was sealed. For Dan to be in, Walter would be out.
Today’s departure is about as close as life comes to full circle.
Blogger’s note – It’s possible over time I have goofed up this story, or remembered things that happened differently or perhaps didn’t happen at all. Corrections are always welcomed.
3 thoughts on “On Dan Rather”
No you are right, that’s the way it happened. Cronkite just disappeared at CBS and it was by Dan’s design according to people who worked there. Live by the sword…
When one departs a lifetime / longtime employer, isn’t it always better to unilaterally decide to hold one’s head high and be gracious instead of bitter? (Even if one has justification?) Don’t you just look better? Don’t you just feel better about YOURSELF? We can all think of examples from our own work lives.
If Rather had just said, “Hey, folks. It’s been a good run, but it’s time for me to move on to something new. I’ve loved my time here- and I’m grateful that CBS allowed me to make a smooth transition…END” wouldn’t that have been better?
Rather came off as quite bitter. I hope for his sake, that people will judge him for his whole career and not for the way he kicked a rock on his way out of the network that he spent his life with. I thought CBS had been quite steadfast and loyal to him over the past 10 years, even when his ratings were weak and his demographics were even weaker.
Maybe I’m a bit harsh, but when I see a guy leave a $10 million / year dream job- a job where he walked on water regardless of performance, with that attitude, I think less of him.
By the way, I remember Beverly Johnson both on TV and personally from when I was a kid. She was indeed a wonderful person, and a great talent- and quite a trailblazer. It was kind of you to mention her, as many of us have very fond memories.
After Beverly left Channel 8, she headed to a great job in San Francisco. She was tragically killed in an auto accident.