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I'd Rather Have Rather

Reported by Nancy - November 24, 2004 -

Amidst endless reports of "wicked weather" thing morning (11/24) on FNL, the staff was positively gleeful over Dan Rather announcing his resignation as anchor at CBS. They got pretty carried away with the banners & teasers, too, in the usual cutesy mode: "Rather Knot" & "Anchors Away" were 2 of the more inane.

At 11:22am (ET), following a clip of Rather announcing his departure, Brigitte Quinn interviewed Marvin Kalb about Rather's announcement. Kalb, who has a long & distinguished career in news reporting, including long stints at CBS & ABC & hosting "Meet the Press", is now a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard. He was an interesting guest [comment: a cut above the usual fare on FNL] & his demeanor helped keep Quinn relatively professional.

Later (after yet more interludes about the weather), at 12:16pm (ET), Bob Sellers interviewed Michael Wolff (New York Magazine) about Rather. In stark contrast to the Quinn-Kalb interview, this was gossip & speculation, laced with personal smears (Sellers called Rather "weird", Wolff said he's more "odd, eccentric"). Sellers commented on how Rather had signed off with the word "courage" for a while, Wolff noted the episode where Rather was mugged & cited the "what's the frequency, Kenneth?" line. Sellers asked if CBS will replace Rather, & Wolff said they won't, because no one wants to work for the networks any more. Sellers happily inserted a plug for FoxNews, asking if that was because they all want to "go to cable" & Wolff agreed, pointing out that network news used to be highly resourced (bureaus & correspondents world-wide, depth & breadth of staff) but that's no longer the case [comment: needless to say, neither Sellers nor Wolff took this golden opportunity to address any issues of megacorporations owning "news" orgs, or problems of media consolidation & homogenization].

CORRECTION, 12/01/04: It has been brought to my attention that I have mis-identified Michael Wolff as being from New York Magazine. Mr Wolff is, in fact, at Vanity Fair. I apologize for the error.