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Dan Rather Saying Good-Bye

Reported by Judy - March 9, 2005

The Big Story with John Gibson Wednesday (March 9) used Dan Rather's last day as CBS Evening News anchor to rehash last September's story over allegedly forged memos regarding George Bush's National Guard Service and to make unfounded allegations of liberal bias against Rather.

Gibson interviewed Rich Noyes, from Media Research Center, and Ellis Hennican, Newsday columnist and fox News contributor. The interview was preceded by a report from Rich Leventhal about Rather's career.

All the time Leventhal talked, a man in a black coat and a black hat walked back and forth behind him holding two signs, one reading, "I (love, represented by a drawing of a heart) Fox and Friends!" and "GoodBye Dan Rather. Good Riddance" followed by the web address of someone offering combat conditioning. Bizarre.

Noyes represented a conservative group dedicated to unearthing "liberal bias" in the media, and he stayed true to his colors, attacking Rather for using his position as news anchor to frame stories in ways that "hurt conservatives."

Gibson made no pretense of detachment with his questions, asking Henican, "Isn't the bias clear?" Gibson maintained that since Rather made a mistake on a story about Bush, he must have made it because "he was so disposed to disliking Bush that he bent his own rules." Gibson said that since Rather made so few mistakes in his career, the fact that he made a mistake on this one was evidence of his bias against Bush. Guess Rather should have made MORE mistakes in order to prove he wasn't biased.

Henican rebutted Gibson effectively and energetically, interrupting Gibson to point out Gibson had no evidence at all to support his claims. He said Rather was interested in a good story about anybody.

Noyes mainly made unsubstantiated claims against Rather, saying he "never put that kind of energy into investigating John Kerry" and that he did "softball interviews" with Clinton and John Kerry. "He saved all of his investigative zeal for Republicans and that's bias," claimed Noyes.

If Gibson or Noyes were interested in exploring Rather's career for evidence of bias, they would have done some homework, as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. FAIR prepared a report debunking the decades-old charge of liberal bias against Rather. "If Rather can be accused of anything, it's the same bias one can see throughout the mainstream media: an unwillingness to challenge official power and policy," the report said.

FAIR, for example, reported that Rather's newscasts contained more Republicans than Democrats by a margin of 3-1. "A FAIR study of all the network news broadcasts in 2001 (Extra!, 5-6/02) found that CBS Evening News had the most Republicans and the fewest Democrats (76 percent vs. 23 percent). The difference between CBS and the other networks was slim, but such analysis belies the notion that Rather's network-- or any of the others-- have a left bias," the report said.

The report said that Rather may have said flattering things about Clinton, but he did the same about Ronald Reagan and Elizabeth Dole.
FAIR, of course, was entirely ignored on Fox. What a surprise.

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