Dan, Dubya, and the Donald
by Taki Theodoracopulos
As everyone knows, journalists tend to take themselves seriously, and American journalists in particular, very, very, very seriously. Dan Rather was such a man, and I use the past tense because although he’s still very much alive, he’s no longer a big shot. Dan used to read the news on American television, and was referred to as an “anchor.” Anchors in America make much more money than the president, and match CEOs of big corporations in raking it in. Walter Cronkite, Dan’s predecessor at CBS, was always referred to as the most trusted man in America, a role the avuncular Walter reveled in. Dan took over in 1980 and got into trouble right away. He was kidnapped by a taxi driver right in the middle of Manhattan and driven crazily around town. Then he was let go unharmed without a word. Some time later two men accosted him on Fifth Avenue, sort of kidnapped him, and kept asking him, “What’s the frequency? Give us the frequency.” Then they let him go unharmed and uninformed about the “frequency.”
These kidnappings made headlines but got me thinking that maybe Dan the Man was a bit of a showman. Then, after close to 25 years in the driver’s seat, in 2004, Dan accused George W. Bush on 60 Minutes of avoiding the draft in the Vietnam era by serving in the Texas Air National Guard. He also said that W. was lax in flying and often went missing. Dan and his producer were accused by the Bush administration of making the whole thing up, and the neocons pushing for the Iraq War that was already one year in the making went ballistic. Dan and the producer were fired by CBS.
It was the end of a show-business career, one masquerading as journalism, that is, but not quite. Ten years later Dan is back, as a movie this time, played by Robert Redford, and the fired producer by Cate Blanchett.
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