Update: Via TVNewser, CBS responds… “These complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit.” Rather will dredge up his bygones on the Larry King Live show tomorrow.
Charles at LGF takes you down animated memory lane. Let’s see that on CNN.
Dan Rather, whose career at CBS News ground to an inglorious end 15 months ago over his role in an unsubstantiated report questioning President Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service, filed a $70 million lawsuit this afternoon against the network, its corporate parent and three of his former superiors.
Mr. Rather, 75, asserts that the network violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on “60 Minutes” after forcing him to step down as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March 2005. He also contends that the network committed fraud by commissioning a “biased” and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast and, in the process, “seriously damaged his reputation.” As plaintiffs, the suit names CBS and its chief executive, Leslie Moonves; Viacom and its executive chairman, Sumner Redstone; and Andrew Heyward, the former president of CBS News.
In the suit, filed this afternoon in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Rather charges that CBS and its executives made him “a scapegoat” in an attempt “to pacify the White House,” though the formal complaint presents virtually no direct evidence to that effect. To buttress this claim, Mr. Rather quotes the executive who oversaw his regular segment on CBS Radio, telling Mr. Rather in November 2004 that he was losing that slot, effective immediately, because of “pressure from ‘the right wing.’ ”
He also continues to take vehement issue with the appointment by CBS of Richard Thornburgh, an attorney general in the administration of the elder President Bush, as one of the two outside panelists given the job of reviewing how the disputed broadcast had been prepared.
Hat tip – Lawhawk , who offers some free professional advice:
Here’s a memo for Dan Rather. When you produce a story based on bogus documents and then use nonexistent sources to verify said bogus documents, don’t expect your employer to give you choice assignments or air time. Indeed, count your blessings that you’ve got a job at all.
You should have been resigned to the ash heap of history for your stunt to manipulate the outcome of the US Presidential elections with just days to go, but instead, you still manage to get air time.
Going back to the Thornburgh report, I remind you of two telling, key phrases: “Myopic zeal.” “Rigid and blind.”
And a refresher on the top 10 news-gathering and news-vetting failures identified by the panel:
1. The failure to obtain clear authentication of any of the Killian documents from any document examiner;
2. The false statement in the September 8 Segment that an expert had authenticated the Killian documents when all he had done was authenticate one signature from one document used in the Segment;
3. The failure of 60 Minutes Wednesday management to scrutinize the publicly available, and at times controversial, background of the source of the documents, retired Texas Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett;
4. The failure to find and interview the individual who was understood at the outset to be Lieutenant Colonel Burkett’s source of the Killian documents, and thus to establish the chain of custody;
5. The failure to establish a basis for the statement in the Segment that the documents “were taken from Colonel Killian’s personal files”;
6. The failure to develop adequate corroboration to support the statements in the Killian documents and to carefully compare the Killian documents to official TexANG records, which would have identified, at a minimum, notable inconsistencies in content and format;
7. The failure to interview a range of former National Guardsmen who served with Lieutenant Colonel Killian and who had different perspectives about the documents;
8. The misleading impression conveyed in the Segment that Lieutenant Strong had authenticated the content of the documents when he did not have the personal knowledge to do so;
9. The failure to have a vetting process capable of dealing effectively with the production speed, significance and sensitivity of the Segment; and
10. The telephone call prior to the Segment’s airing by the producer of the Segment to a senior campaign official of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry – a clear conflict of interest – that created the appearance of a political bias.
Myopic zeal. Rigid and blind.
The more things change, the more Dan Rather stays the same.