Originally created 09/21/04

Rather, the Nixon clone



Dan Rather first gained TV fame more than 30 years ago as the CBS White House correspondent who asked hard-hitting questions about Watergate, and even had some sharp exchanges with President Richard Nixon.

Until yesterday, when CBS began to come clean, Rather - who for more than two decades now has been the face of CBS news - engaged in a Nixon-style cover-up over phony documents Rather used on 60 Minutes II earlier this month that were clearly designed to impugn the integrity and damage the re-election chances of President George W. Bush.

The apparently forged documents purported to prove that the young George Bush used his family clout to get into the Texas Air National Guard, and that his superior officer was pressured to "sugar coat" his record there, including overlooking Bush's disobeying a direct order.

Within hours of the telecast, document-savvy Internet bloggers blew the whistle on the questionable memos, and shortly thereafter mainstream news organizations picked up on the story.

If Rather wanted to retain any credibility, that is when he should have admitted the documents were probably bogus and invited an independent investigation. But he didn't, until yesterday.

Instead, Rather stonewalled just like Nixon, claiming the documents were authentic and that the bloggers were "political operatives" advancing their own partisan agenda.

The truth is, it was CBS who was pushing a partisan agenda - bashing Bush.

Rather not only dislikes Republicans, he loathes the Bushes. The hate dates back to the 1988 campaign when the elder Bush crossed swords with the newsman.

So when documents came his way "proving" that long-discredited rumors about young Bush's National Guard service were actually true, Rather couldn't wait to run with them, even though some of his own document experts advised against it.

There was also conflicting testimony about whether Bush's superior officer was "pressured" or not, but CBS chose only to air the testimony of those who agreed with Rather's point of view.

The whole piece was a hatchet job masquerading as a straight news story. Like Nixon before him, Rather stonewalled for too long to be believed now. He's only coming clean because other news organizations did what he should have done: investigate.

The incident also confirms that CBS News is basically a propaganda arm of the left wing of the Democratic Party. If the network wants anyone besides the gang at MoveOn.org to ever again believe anything it says, it must get rid of Dan Rather. He might be a good newsman when he covers hurricanes, but when he covers politics, he's just another Michael Moore propagandist.