Dan Rather: Journalism Has ‘Lost its Guts’- Is Media not Biased Enough?
By: Warner Todd Huston
Unbelievably, disgraced newsreader, Dan Rather, claimed at a recent festival that American journalism “has in some ways lost its guts” and that the MSM has “adopted the go-along-to-get-along (attitude).”
As reported by CNETNews.com, Rather was a keynote speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive festival this past weekend where he gave a 2 hour talk on the shape of journalism and the Internet.
One has to wonder to which “gutless” American media he is referring? Is it the same media that was so weak-kneed as to leak damaging national security information, the same media that just “goes along” to undermine the war effort at every opportunity? Is it the same one that goes out of its way to malign the US and Israeli governments? It is that MSM Rather imagines has somehow gone soft?
Rather’s talk was mostly about the media’s purported gutlessness, but he did have a few words of interest to say about the new media on the Internet.
“The Internet is a tremendous tool for not just news, (because) its potential is unlimited for that,” Rather said, but for “illumination and opening things up.”
His dubious eloquence aside, Rather is right on with his assessment that the internet presents the great opportunities of this new century, but he also proves his tin ear on why the MSM has lost its luster with the general public.
One reason for that, Rather said, is that a sense has developed that questioning power, especially at a time of war, is perceived as unpatriotic or unsupportive of America’s fighting troops.
“We’ve brought it on ourselves,” he added, “partly because we’ve lost the sense that patriotic journalists will be on his or her feet asking the tough questions. My role as a member of the press is to be sometimes a check and balance on power.”
“In many ways,” said Rather to loud applause, “what we in journalism need is a spine transplant.”
No, Mr. Rather, you have it wrong. No one is against the MSM for “questioning power”. We distrust the MSM for its abuse of its own power to publish. We are distrustful of the MSM not for asking questions but for making things up out of whole cloth to push their own agenda.
We are distrustful of the MSM, Mr. Rather, because it lies.
Reutergate, fauxtography, not to mention the very reason Dan Rather lost his long time TV newsreader gig, Rathergate, has revealed that the MSM has an agenda to push, one that is not formulated to merely “question power”, but one to bring down governments not to their liking. It is an agenda intended to shape policy instead of just report on it, and to place their favored candidates in power by manipulating polling, misreporting election results, and, via carefully picked topics upon which to report, guide the directions of campaigns.
Naturally, Rather is self-serving in his remarks because he imagines himself the pinnacle of “news”. But, is he so blind to his own bias that he imagines himself balanced or moderate? Does he see himself, the man responsible for reporting fake stories… not just once, but several times… as the best man to be the government’s “watchdog”?
Rather reiterated what he claims to view as the journalist’s role.
“Not as an attack dog…But what does the lapdog do, he just crawls into someone’s lap,” he said. “A good watchdog barks at everything that’s suspicious. I submit to you, the American press’ role is to be a watchdog.”
How Rather squares this claim, though, with his own “attack dog” history is anybody’s guess?
No, what we see from Rather’s talk at the SSI Festival is not the words of the sage of the news room, or the words of a man retiring with honor. What we see is a man desperately trying to soft peddle a career made of the very violations of truth and the role he claims the MSM should have. Rather is a man pretending to sage advice but a man who never lived up to his own high standards. And he is a man who lost his job because of it.
The final chapter of Dan Rather’s career has already been written and it is a chapter that adds one of the last straws to break the trust that Americans once had in the media. Rathergate and so many like incidents is why we distrust the media. Not a supposed lack of “spine”.