Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Could it be pay back?

Reading around the internet this morning I came upon Neals Nuze, the radio notes of Neal Boortz. In todays notes Boortz wonders if Rather is holding a grudge against the Bush family.

Where were you on January 25, 1988? Were you watching Dan Rather interview Vice President George Bush on CBS? This interview is so infamous that C-SPAN still sells tapes of the interview on its website. The interview was supposed to be a simple profile of candidates in the 1988 presidential election. CBS saved Bush for last. Rather had another agenda, however. He was bound and determined to use that interview to somehow tie George Bush 41 to the Iran-Contral mess. Dan Rather's grilling of Vice President Bush was so over-the-top that Walter Cronkite said that he would have fired him. Sam Donaldson said that "Rather went too far." Mike Wallace, a CBS colleague, said that "Dan lost his cool."

At one point in that interview George Bush 41 finally reached the point where he had had quite enough, thank you very much. Bush finally delivered the following zinger to Rather:

RATHER: I don't want to be argumentative, Mr. Vice President.

BUSH: You do, Dan.

RATHER: No...no, sir, I don't.

BUSH: This is not a great night, because I want to talk about why I want to be president, why those 41 percent of the people are supporting me. And I don't think it's fair...

RATHER: And Mr. Vice President, if these questions are --

BUSH: ...to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? [Note: Rather actually was in Miami and he was off the set for six minutes.

There are those inside CBS who will tell you that Bush's reference to Rather's 7-minute walk-off created a blinding hatred in Rather that exists to this day.

The whole interview can be found here.

Interesting. Could this be a 16 year old grudge?

Read the transcript, it shows just what kind of journalist Rather really is. As an anchor you expect some civility, just from reading the transcript, I found that there was none. Rather went on attack mode from the begining without allowing Bush to answer the question or overriding the answers. He then got his backside embarrased.

Is this what it's all about?

I'm just asking.