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Book Review - Rather Outspoken - My Life in the News - Dan Rather
This memoir lives up to its title in spades— Los Angeles Times
"There's nobody else around. It is quiet as a tomb, and my mind begins to wander: a kaleidoscope of thoughts." Rather writes in Rather Outspoken
Dan Rather's exposé of his excommunication from CBS News after 44 years as an award winning journalist, reporter and anchor.
The last twenty four years of Dan Rather's tenure as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News was ending.
"There's nobody else around. It is quiet as a tomb, and my mind begins to wander: a kaleidoscope of thoughts." Rather writes in Rather Outspoken.
Rather chronicles the set of facts the distortion/outright-elimination of those facts. and how the two biggest news stories of his career led to the excommunication of himself, Mary Mapes and many others from CBS News.
What happened to Dan Rather? Is this punishment for telling the truth, excommunication? Or does it go much deeper than that, was CBS coerced into firing Dan Rather?
I know what you are thinking 'journalist come and go all the time, so what makes this different?'
Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
He pushed them. . . and they flew— Apollinaire
It was long said of me that I had the CBS Eye tattooed somewhere on my ass.— Dan Rather
How did I find out about this book?
Have you ever listened to someone speaking and without seeing the person, you knew who it was? But, that is the one thing about Dan Rather, he has such a distinctive voice… so when I heard him from another room, although I had not heard him in such a long time, I knew it was him and practically ran to see if it was… and sure enough it was Dan Rather. he was on the Rachel Maddow show and he was talking about Rather Outspoken, his book… I knew that is one book I have to have and so… I put that on my Christmas wish list.
When I started reading Rather Outspoken I could hear his voice in every word I read. I would have known who wrote it, even if I started reading it without knowing who wrote it, by the clarity, honesty and truth… just as if he were speaking this in one of his news reports.
Rather Outspoken is a book that does not hold back on information on individuals and circumstances; it named names and people associated with what led to his dismissal and that of coworkers Mary Mapes and Dana Robertson from CBS… the company that Rather worked for, for more than 40 years.
Dan Rather on the Rachel Maddow show
Rather Outspoken… By Dan Rather: The Review
This is a riveting memoir of events leading to Dan Rather’s exodus from CBS news… and a glimpse into the meetings and interviews of some of the Presidents during his 40 plus years as a journalist with CBS and their affiliates.
Rather described how Lynden Banes Johnson felt he should be given a pass for his crassness from Rather, because they are both Texans.
He described how the “Watergate” scandal affected him, in such a simple detailed way that it gave me a clearer understanding of the situation as a whole.
Rather Outspoken is a book about telling the truth, and how it destroyed careers, exposed cover-ups all the way to the top of our government; and the acquiescence and complicities at the very top of CBS News that led to his dismissal and that of coworkers Mary Mapes and Dana Robertson, and told this author who his true friends were/are.
Dan’s disappearance from CBS News came in the wake of two of his biggest stories. First was his revelation of Abu Ghraib’s atrocities, with facts and pictures to back up those facts, then the stonewalling of airing the story not only by CBS News but, also the US Army.
Abu Ghraib’s atrocities.
Rather’s book tells of the discovery of the Abu Ghraib atrocities and the exposé how the stonewalling by both CBS News and the Army on airing the story, played out to cover-up and find scapegoats--until the executives at CBS discover that a competitive journalist has gotten the same information and made plans to break the story. That is when CBS executives decided to allow Rather to air the story.
Abu Ghraib aired on April 28th “in as watered down a version as possible” Rather wrote.
The Abu Ghraib story aired on CBS in such a way that it sounded almost like no big deal.
After the April 28th story of Abu Ghraib aired in its watered down a version, after the head honchos at CBS learned that a renowned journalist for the New Yorker newspaper came into possession of the Abu Ghraib story and the pictures, and planned to break the story.
CBS had to air the story before Sy Hersh humiliated CBS News in print in the New Yorker. And Sy did run the story in the May 10th issue of the New Yorker and three follow-up stories.
Rather wrote: “At CBS News, time was when getting the worldwide exclusive on an explosive story like Abu Ghraib would have been occasion for congratulations and great praise from top executives, both of the News Division and the network itself. Those times were long gone. From the days of Edward R. Murrow through civil rights, through Vietnam, through Watergate and into the 1980s reporting the truth, regardless of who was trying to cover it up—or perhaps because of who was trying to cover it up—was a virtue unto itself and needed no further justification.”
MIA - The George W. Bush controversy
Aw.. but, the story of George W. Bush being MIA from the Air National Guard for a year, was a different story. But it wasn’t enough. Rather, Mapes and Richardson had gathered facts and had lined up interviews -- with people who knew that what he had was facts.
George "W" Bush MIA the second biggest story of Dan Rather's career.
As "Mary Mapes was looking into Bush's military Career, we talked about reaching out to Ben Barnes" Rather wrote.
Ben Barnes was a longtime friend of Rather from his days when he was Texas's lieutenant governor which put him in position to say who got into the Air National Guard and who did not. Mary had gotten the okay that Barns had reluctantly agreed to the interview.
The swift boating of John Kerry, Was this another red herring i.e. smoke screen to cover up Bush's wrongful MIA.
Rather wrote in Rather Outspoken that he called Ben Barnes to firm up his consent. Barnes was a Kerry supporter, and the swift-boating smear operation was a burr under his saddle. He was very aware that it was hurting Kerry badly. Worse yet, it was based in Texas.
Rather writes that Barnes told him: "I'm not happy about doing this, but I think it is time." Rather also writes that in 1999, Barnes had already sworn under oath that he had recommended Bush for a spot in the Guard. That was in a deposition, however, saying so on national television was another matter.
While on my way to work in 1999, I listened to a talk radio show and there was a radio host who began talking about George W. Bush starting a business called Arbusto Energy (arbusto is Spanish for bush) and his scam of the investors in that business. One of the investors was Salim ben Laden, brother of Osama. The host also told how he, Bush had gone AWOL after his father had secured a place for him in the Air National Guard.
Funny, not funny like ha, ha, I mean funny like strange, the following day the radio host was replaced by someone else and I never heard of him again.
Who has that kind of power to cover-up stuff?
After the airing of the George W. Bush story on his Air National Service Andrew Heyward said: "We're asking you to apologize. You need to do this for the good of CBS News, and for you own good." Rather was also told.
Rather was told that the network was going to announce the establishment of an outside commission to investigate what happened.
Two days later Rather writes that he took a call from Andrew Heyward to inform him that independent commission had been appointed. “It is going to be led by Richard Thornburgh” Heyward said. Rather slamming his fist down on the dashboard so hard he hurt his hand and told Heyward, “this is insane!”
Richard Thornburgh had been the U.S. attorney general, first under Ronald Reagan and then under George H.W. Bush. And he still had close ties to the Bush family.
Rather wrote “It now seemed absolutely clear why we had been ordered to drop any further investigation into Bush’s experience in the Texas Air National Guard.”
Rather wrote that Andrew told him that Thornburg has credibility with the Bush people and the right wing and with everyone who is giving CBS a hard time.
"Of course he has credibility with them!" Rather shouted. "He IS them!"
What happened was that we spoke truth to power. And power had bellowed back through every bullhorn it could command. At the time, it was loud enough to drown out the truth.— Dan Rather
This is a fascinating book and I could not put it down.
Will you Read this Book
© 2016 Shyron E Shenko