The HD Net panel with Dan Rather was by far the most serious and well-attended panel of the day. Several executives from other networks actually peeked their heads in the door to see what was going on (although none actually came in to sit down).
Cuban and Rather cut right to the chase, with a three-minute video about the ex-CBS newsman's new program (kind of weird to show a video of him talking directly to the camera when he was sitting right there on the stage and could've explained himself). Rather then graciously, and at times loquaciously, answered several critics' questions about his career and reputation.
Rather didn't disappoint with the, well…playful? clichéd? speech for which he's known, especially when it came to making proclamations about his career. Read B&C's main site for the news out of the panel, but below find a few of Rather's more fiery declarations.
And also, several critics seemed preoccupied with their observation that Rather cried when talking about his desire to be like Edward R. Murrow. I was there, and I don't think he cried. His voice kind of cracked, but in my humble opinion, no tears were shed.
On his commitment to independent reporting: "When you face the furnace, you have to take the heat, and some of the time you're going to get burned, and I've got plenty of scars,"
On not letting money or a potentially marred reputation get in the way of said commitment: "I didn't get into journalism as a careerist, I'm not going to get out of journalism as a careerist."
On not shying away from hard-hitting journalism: "News, real news, news at its best is a wakeup call, not a lullaby, and I'm not in the lullaby business."
On whether he feels he needs to prove something, given what he's accomplished already: "Television is ephemeral and particularly for people in television, you start inhaling it, inhaling all that talk of what you've accomplished…you can put it in the category of just shuffling my feet and running my hands around the brim of my hat, but I don't think I've accomplished very much."
By Anne Becker