The LA Times pulls no punches in this column on the aftermath of Dan Rather’s pathetic defense of a slipshod story alleging Bush weaseled his way out of his military duties.
Now, if you once had thought of yourself as situated at the heart of the journalistic universe for nearly half a century, and suddenly found yourself 75 and toiling for an obscure cable operation that seemed to generate more press releases than viewers, it probably would be much more satisfying to see yourself as the victim of an intricate, high-level conspiracy than as someone undone by the kind of personal screw-up that would make a first-year reporter blush.
The problem is that there’s more than one guy’s injured vanity at play here. In fact, the adjectives that come to mind as you assess the substance of what Rather now has done are wanton, reckless and irresponsible. Let’s put aside the fact that Rather has no evidence that the network’s owners were anything but understandably embarrassed and angry at having their single most recognizable journalist air something as incompetently put together as the “60 Minutes” segment in question. Let’s ignore any questions over why Thornburg and Boccardi — two men with unimpeachable reputations in their respective fields — would join a conspiracy to “get Dan Rather.”