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March 07, 2005

One Last Dig At Dan Rather

Click on "Dan's Next Job."

Courage, Dan.

Thanks to RatherBiased.com, who must just be drooling to hear Dan Rather say the words that will make the Rathergate-Watergate correspondence almost perfect:

You won't have Dan Rather to kick around anymore.

And... Meet the New Dan, same as the Old Dan. He began his career as someone only passingly interested in honest reporting:

Rather went on the air with a local Methodist minister who made a stunning claim: Children at Dallas's University Park Elementary School had cheered when told of [President Kennedy's] death.

The tale was perfect for the moment, reinforcing the notion among distant media elites that Dallas was a reactionary "City of Hate." ... Finally, for the ambitious Rather--a native Texan and then a Dallas resident--the account represented the very sort of revealing, local dirt that the throngs of out-of-town competitors would have to work far harder to get.

Except that it wasn't true, and Rather knew it, Barker says.

Approached earlier by the same minister with what was a second-hand account, Barker himself had run the story by the school's principal and some teachers, all of whom denied it outright. Because of the shooting, which took place at 12:30 p.m., the principal had decided to close the school early, though without telling the students why. The children at the school--including three of Barker's own--were merely happy to be going home early, he was told. There couldn't have been any spontaneous cheering at the news of Kennedy's murder, because no such news had been announced.

Undaunted, the dogged minister--"a very, very strong liberal and a very, very strong Kennedy supporter," Barker says--moved on to Rather.

"Rather came to me, and I said, 'My kids are in school there, and I checked it out, and there's not a darn thing to it,'" says Barker. "He said, 'Well, great--I'll just forget it.' But instead of forgetting it, he went out and did this gut job on Dallas and its conservatism," with the preacher's story at the center of his report.


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posted by Ace at 03:12 AM

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