Chron: True Colors

On Monday the Chronicle stated in their editorial that:

Houston Chronicle Editorial Board Finally, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who got his start in Houston, wrote a sad footnote to his mostly distinguished career when he sued his old employers for $70 million. The suit alleges that CBS made Rather a scapegoat for an inaccurate story about George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. Whatever the network executives’ sins, they don’t deserve to be punished to that degree after paying Rather millions per year long after he had passed his prime.

Rather’s suit, while presenting a weak case against CBS, makes a wounding case against his own prowess as a broadcast journalist. Despite the fact that Rather bore the title of managing editor of CBS News, he alleges in his suit that he bore no responsibility for the content or accuracy of his broadcasts: The mighty network anchor is revealed for what he or she is, merely a familiar face reading from a teleprompter reports he or she had nothing to do with preparing.

I had to respond:

To: viewpoints@chron.com
Subject: True Colors

The Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board showed their ties to the corporation are stronger than those to the journalist when they decided to chastise Dan Rather (Mistakes, Sept 24).

His lawsuit is more about forcing the big boys (which includes Viacom and The Hearst Corporation) to allow journalism ferret out the truth. When you are in fear of your job, you can’t be an objective journalist!

Whether you believe in the veracity of Mr. Rather’s initial report or not (the report stand whether the pieces in question are legitimate or not – and they have not been proven false), the ability of The Press (which means the foot pounding journalist, not the Corporation) to seek the truth was damaged by his summary termination.

-Bill Shirley
Houston, Texas

I should have added “this lawsuit isn’t for himself, it’s for the Cub Reporter”.