This week, between the $550,000 fine for the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl incident and Dan Rather’s mea culpa for the erroneous 60 Minutes story, that’s been the sentiment around WDAM.
I’ve already noted Janet. So, this entry will focus on Dan.
Actually, those who run RatherBiased.com, Rathergate.com and similar sites have voiced their views in-depth on the CBS News story on President Bush’s National Guard service and the controversy that’s followed. In deference to them, I’ll keep my remarks short and to the point.
And the point is this: it’s time for Dan Rather to go. On his watch, the CBS Evening News has been mired in third place in the ratings for some time now (the cross-town CBS affil airs the national newscast on a half-hour delay to make way for the Dr. Phil show in the 5:00pm Central hour…meaning the CBS Evening News goes up against WDAM’s local 6:00pm news…shows you how much faith WHLT has in Dan). CBS News, in general, has not been doing well in the ratings — save for 60 Minutes. And it’s this Memogate controversy that’s tarnished the legendary news magazine program.
If Dan and company hoped for some sort of ratings blockbuster, this didn’t help. Further, this only adds to the long list of awful and stupid things he’s done in his years at CBS. Yeah, yeah, I know, there’s a producer involved in the airing of this story. But come on. Why did a managing editor/anchor of a daily national newscast fail to take a few extra moments and fully examine and scrutinize the documents in question? Some extra research and, dare I say when speaking of TV news, patience would’ve prevented this on-air embarrassment.
If you’re thinking I have nothing good to say about Dan Rather, sadly, you’re correct. In times of criticism, I try to find something good. In this case, I can’t.
Dan, do the network and the rest of us a favor: take early retirement. This way, you’re no longer dealing CBS a black eye — and you’re no longer part of our world.