Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the July - Aug 2012 issue

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Some perfectly sensible Americanos file their eminently polite remonstrances with the excitable Dan Rather for his fabrications, and here is how he replies, aided and abetted by his crazy wife:

Shortly after the broadcast, someone called to tell me we were catching a Lot of flack [sic] on the Internet. With a piece like that, I thought it was to be expected, but what was different in this case was the intensity of the vilification.…

The attacks didn’t stop with the Internet, however. We were inundated with irate phone calls and deluged with vitriolic faxes. It was a tsunami of outrage. The fax machine right outside Mary’s office was running constantly, spewing out hate mail, page after page after page. Fake! Fake! Fake! They screamed. And that was the best of it. Many were obscene. Some were threatening.…

By rehashing the right wing’s unsubstantiated allegations, the article in the Post stoked the fire of the controversy and validated the accusations made by the bloggers. This struck me as anything but objective journalism. It seemed to me to be downright incendiary. The piece in the Post detonated a series of virulent anti-CBS, anti-Rather, and anti-Mapes explosions coming not just from right-wing websites, but from legitimate media outlets as well.…

[I]t was my wife who provided the perspective I needed to hear. “You got into a fight with the president of the United States,” she told me. “During the heat of his reelection campaign.

What did you think was going to happen?” What happened was that we spoke truth to power. And power had bellowed back through every bullhorn it could command. At the time, it was loud enough to drown out the truth.

[From Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News by Dan Rather with Digby Diehl. Grand Central Publishing, 309 pages, $27.99]


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