Are you running for something?” Richard Nixon asked Dan Rather at a March 1974 press conference.
“No, sir, Mr. President,” the CBS newsman replied. “Are you?”
Five months later, Nixon left the White House in disgrace. Three decades after that, Rather left the network in disgrace. He had become the Richard Nixon of news.
Like the post-presidential Nixon, Rather has been waging a campaign to rehabilitate himself—although unlike Nixon, who expressed regret for the scandal that sank his career, Rather has not acknowledged doing wrong.
This summer Rather, styling himself an elder statesman of journalism, made a proposal aimed at saving the news business. In a July Aspen Institute speech and an August Washington Post op-ed, Rather endorsed a long-standing leftist critique of the media: that they are controlled by corporations and therefore in the pocket of the government.
As he wrote in the Post: