Skip to comments.Rather's Anti-Recall Plea: Voters Needed to Stop 'Republican Schwarzenegger'
Posted on 10/07/2003 6:18:45 AM PDT by RatherBiased.com
Rather's Anti-Recall Plea
2003-10-07 03:00:10 ET
Voters Needed to stop 'Republican Schwarzenegger'-- The California recall is the biggest story of the moment and that was certainly true at last night's Evening News. After devoting the first two stories of his broadcast about the election, the anchorman decided to add one more thing. Harking back to the days when he routinely used "Republican" as the first name of former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, Rather sounded an ominous note about California's political future, and what needed to be done:
"You may want to note that among political professionals, there is a wide-spread belief that Schwarzenegger probably already has a long lead in absentee ballots cast days and weeks ago. If true, only an unexpected, overwhelming turnout of no-recall voters tomorrow could prevent Republican Schwarzenegger from becoming governor."
Dan Rather always took a dim view of sexual allegations leveled at the former president. During the Clinton years, he was adamant that the press keep out of politicians' private lives. He even argued it was wrong to discuss a rape charge leveled against Clinton.
Even if the allegation "turns out to be true, it happened a long time ago," Rather said during an appearance on syndicated talk-show host Don Imus's program shortly after Clinton's Senate acquittal. "They've gotta be figuring maybe, just maybe the American public has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying, you know, 'Next; let's move on to the next thing.'"
And that was the view that Rather brought with him into his news coverage. Asked later by FNC's Bill O'Reilly why he never once mentioned the rape allegation, Rather said it was none of his business poking around in Clinton's "private sex life."
"I barely remember but I do remember it," Rather said during a May 15, 2001 interview. "But I will say that -- and you can castigate me if you like--when the charge has something to do with somebody's private sex life, I would prefer not to run any of it."
But the Broaddrick case was hardly the first time Rather came to the defense of Clinton. Like many of his fellow Democrats, the CBS honcho was suspicious from the start when a woman named Gennifer Flowers accused candidate Bill Clinton of conducting a multi-year affair with her. Even after Flowers revealed some recorded telephone conversations as evidence, Rather was still dubious about her veracity. Indeed, as one former CBS News official later put it, Rather saw Flowers as just another Republican plant:
"Dan Rather was convinced that Roger Ailes, who had no formal role in this year's Bush campaign, had in some way inspired the Gennifer Flowers story. When the draft story appeared in the [Wall Street] Journal, Rather wanted to break a story on how the Bush campaign had planted that," wrote CBSer Marty Plissner in his 1999 book The Control Room.
"In CBS's first report on the draft issue, five days after it broke, Rather, who has several writers at his disposal, gave it a headline that absolutely no one else could: âBill Clinton says President Bush's 1989 Willie Horton crowd is smearing him with new campaign dirty tricks.' Rather was not pleased by CBS's failure to scoop the world on this, or on Roger Ailes's supposed planting of the Gennifer Flowers story."
But Rather's journalistic skepticism has somehow vanished now that a Republican politician is being accused of sexual misconduct--just like it did in the case of Rush Limbaugh last week where a CBS reporter referred to the National Enquirer as "published reports."
On Friday, the Evening News featured an incorrect allegation that Schwarzenegger had admired Adolph Hitler. Originally, this story had appeared in the New York Times but was later corrected. But Rather and reporter Jerry Bowen decided to go with the story anyway. Neither made any mention of the fact that the original source for the story later backtracked and said that the Austrian-born actor did not admire Hitler.
Since last Thursday when the Los Angeles Times printed accounts from several women who claim that Schwarzenegger sexually harassed them, Rather's Evening has been all over the story. It's run reports every day on the story and has featured several of the women on the air. Unfortunately, no one at CBS seems to have bothered to check out any of their backgrounds.
It now turns out that at least one of them--Rhonda Miller, who was featured on last night's program--is a liar. Now, we can't fault Rather & co. for not checking out all of these women's backgrounds, but at least they could have mentioned the fact that Miller refused to take questions at her news conference and that she did not provide any witnesses to corroborate her account.
But after his version, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer announced that "in the town of Beiji, north of Baghdad, Saddam's men have rearmed. Over the weekend they took over the town center and set fire to city hall." But that's not all. "On the outskirts American soldiers were following orders to maintain a low profile. They were staying on the sidelines. The trouble is, so were the Iraqi police." In contrast to other more positive reports about Iraqi police throughout the country, that's not what she chose to highlight from Beiji. "The idea lately has been that the Iraqi police should be keeping order. But without any training, bad weapons and no safety gear, they're not only ineffective, they're scared."
Palmer summed it up: "It's just the latest example of the missteps Americans have made from the start in this complex tribal society." To back up her assertion, she quoted an Iraqi from the Iraqi Governing Council who gave a reason for the U.S. alleged failure. In his explanation, he demonstrated an incorrect knowledge of American history.
"They have never ruled any country anywhere outside the United States as a colonial power or occupier or whatever, and so they make many mistakes, I think," said Mahmoud Othman.
It's understandable for an Iraqi to be unaware of America's history of occupations, most notably in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. But for the CBS producers, as well as Elizabeth Palmer, to either knowingly allow the clip without correction, or to not know that is was incorrect, is shameful. It represents for CBS either yet another attempt to sway public opinion or an embarrassing ignorance of American history.
CNN Headline News this morning had a snippet at the bottom of the screen saying:
"If the recall election in California succeeds today the next governor can be subject to recall in 6 months."
On the other hand, raping a women like Juanita wasn't a big deal. Juanita worked in a job where she cared for the elderly. Dan Rather must have known the tacky type reputations of women who work caring for the elderly? Maybe that's why he didn't want to persue the story.
Still? That presupposes that he ever did. :-)
Only till Baghdad Bob's legal situation is cleared up and he can sit behind the SeeBS instead...