Open Mike - Broadcasting & Cable

Open Mike

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Defending Dan

Editor: It is with great reluctance and not a little discomfort that I find myself in disagreement with any B&C pronouncement.

I refer to your editorial (“Rather Sad,” Sept. 24), which in part resembles an ad hominem attack on an honorable individual who has earned his status as an icon of our profession.

During a long and illustrious career, no one ever accused Dan Rather of a lack of sincerity or found him wanting for integrity. Why, then, deny him that sincerity now that he has taken legal action against his former network?

Mr. Rather may perhaps have been inaccurate from time to time. But so have we all as we attempt to speak truth with a good heart.

Whatever else you may say about him, no one has ever found Dan Rather guilty of deception. Thus, if he truly and sincerely believes the news organization to which he devoted most of his professional life was unfair, unjust or inaccurate in its treatment of him when the going got tough in the aftermath of the Texas Air National Guard episode, he has to speak out now.

He is, in effect, saying that the network is not telling the truth, the pursuit of which he has devoted his life to and on which he has staked his reputation.

Indeed, your editorial, for all its harshness, doesn’t really say he’s wrong—or not telling the truth. But here we have Dan Rather saying the network is not telling the truth, while B&C is, in essence, saying it’s all right to leave this stain on your reputation.

He is also saying that not only did his former employer not tell the truth about his involvement with the ill-fated and flawed exposé about the president’s National Guard experience, but that they used him badly to clean up the mess.

I take no side as to the legal merits of his case, except to suggest that it becomes—rather than demeans—him to seek redress in the courts. And in the court of public opinion and the minds of those he has served so well and for so long.

William O’Shaughnessy
President
Whitney Radio
WVOX/ WVIP
New Rochelle, N.Y.

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