Tuesday, January 11, 2005

One Annotated Version of Dan Rather's Memo to CBS Colleagues


The Anchoress shares with us Dan's Rather's memo to his CBS colleagues. Our comments are in bold:

January 11, 2005

TO : All CBS News Colleagues

The panel report is part of a process – a necessary process to deal with a difficult issue – at the end of which four good people have lost their jobs. [A difficult issue? Excuse me?]
My strongest reaction is one of sadness and concern for those individuals whom I know and with whom I have worked. [Your strongest reaction? Really? How disappointing but unsurprising.] It would be a shame if we let this matter, troubling as it is, obscure their dedication and good work over the years. [After all, what's really important, the inexcusable and outrageously fraudulent hit piece on Bush, or that those responsible-- well, most of them-- lost their jobs? Is this about them as individuals or about CBS's tattered credibility?]

Yet good can come from this process if CBS News, and the hundreds of able professionals who labor every day to fill an essential public service in an open society, emerge with a renewed dedication to journalism of the highest quality. [The word "bloviate" comes to mind for some reason.] We should take seriously the admonition of the report’s authors to do our job well and carefully, but also their parallel admonition not to be afraid to cover important and controversial issues. [Ah, yes, Dan Rather, bloodied but onbowed. As always. Um, do you think you might have the message of the report just a little out of proportion there? Was the authors' "parallel admonition" really such a dominant feature of the report? I thought the report was about the multiple failures of CBS News to behave like a responsible news organization, not your obligation to cover important and controversial issues.]

CBS News is a great institution with a distinct and precious legacy. [Somewhere, Hugh Hewitt is grinning. He calls what you do "legacy journalism." It's not a flattering term. And make no mistake, somewhere Ed Murrow is lamenting what you have done with that legacy.] I have been here through good times, and not so good times. I have seen us overcome adversity before. [Ah, Dan the Hero. It's all about overcoming adversity. Even if the adversity is of your own making. Oh, please!] I am convinced we can do so again. That must be our focus and priority. And we can fulfill that objective by getting back to business and doing our jobs better than ever. [Yes, let's "get back to business." Put all this unpleasantness behind us. Quickly! But . . . I thought fairness and accuracy were your business. Isn't that what the report is all about?]

Lest anyone have any doubt, I have read the report, I take it seriously, and I shall keep its lessons well in mind. [What! Doubt you? Why would we ever . . . ?]

Dan Rather


Excuse me, but I have the distinct impression that Rather either does not "get it" or does not want to admit he got it. My personal opinion? He doesn't get it, and never will.


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