Skip to comments.FLASHBACK: 30 Years Ago Tonight, Dan Ratherís Failed, Fake News Ambush of Bush
Posted on 01/25/2018 5:14:06 AM PST by markomalley
On Monday, January 25, 1988, 30 years ago tonight, Americans across the country saw with their own eyes an early example of the ugly liberal media attack machine. Dan Rather, the anchor of the CBS Evening News at the time, laid a trap and attempted to ambush then-Vice President George H.W. Bush on live TV. Of course, Rathers goal was to embarrass the leading Republican contender for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.
The segment was supposed to be a candidates profile. Instead, Rather screamed at the Vice President over the Iran-Contra scandal, making it the sole topic discussed. Visibly angry, he berated the Vice President: Youve made us hypocrites in the face of the world!
But Bush didnt just sit back and take the bias. He zinged the journalist by mentioning a truly embarrassing moment for Rather. In 2008, Rich Noyes quoted from The Quest for the Presidency, recounting:
...a notorious incident several months earlier when Rather, on location in Miami, had got sore at having his newscast held up by a tennis match and had walked off his set to call New York to bitch about it.
The tennis match had ended in his absence, and CBS, with nothing else to put on the air, had gone to black an empty screen for six minutes. It was the ultimate embarrassment for a network...
So when an unhinged Rather yelled and berated Bush, the Republican retorted: Its not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your whole career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? Bush lowered the boom: I have respect for you, but I dont have respect for what youre doing tonight!
How badly did Rathers botched effort to destroy Bush fail? Even his colleagues in the press were appalled. According to the February 1988 issue of the Media Research Center's MediaWatch, 60 Minutes co-host Mike Wallace chided, The style was wrong. Dan lost his cool. ABC's Sam Donaldson derided, Rather went too far.... I dont think we can get to a situation where we make on our own authority accusations.
The cover of the February 8, 1988 issue of Time labeled it the ambush that failed. Then-Time associate editor Richard Stengel (and future Obama official) criticized the CBS anchor, describing the scene as a powerful TV journalist hectoring the Vice President, who had been lured into the interview expecting that it would focus on his presidential campaign.
Times journalists even conducted a poll to see who won the battle. The results werent good for Rather. By a resounding margin, 42 percent to 27 percent, Bush came out ahead in the exchange. Was Rather rude? Fifty one percent said yes. Only 38 percent said no.
The February 8, 1988 Newsweek critiqued: Last weeks drama in the control room underscored the networks uneasiness about its evening-news star. Intense and driven, Rather has a reputation for volatility that at times approaches instability.
Rathers obsession with derailing Bush presidential campaigns didnt end in 1988. In 2004, he famously used phony documents in an effort to undermine George W. Bushs reelection bid. Ultimately, it led to his ouster as anchor of the CBS Evening News. (Rather has been reduced to appearing on an online show on The Young Turks channel.)
Three decades later, journalists are still doing their best to undermine conservatives and Republicans.
Lib journalists and reporters always deny political bias yet they don’t question the many flaws in Obama that the press failed to look into. They even had a president that used the Oval Office as a sex room. Press could give a hoot.
Has it been that long?
I’m getting OLD!
Legend in his own mind...
How wrong Mr. Donaldson was. Today, 30 years later, most "journalists" do nothing but make accusations on their own "authority".
Great example of how NOT to be a “journalist”.
Press COULDN’T give a hoot.
While it’s always nice to re-live a beat-down of a Socialist, I sure wish more Conservatives had been tuned into what the Bush Cabal and their Globalist Pals had had in mind for America.
Oh, to have a Time Machine at my disposal! ;)
I guess the Bush family got the last laugh on Dan with the fake Natl Guard memos which destroyed his career.
as much as I loathe frequency kenneth, both booches probably damaged our country more.
The holy grail for these people is to destroy a Republican.
I’m old enough to remember Rather during a press conference with Richard Nixon. When Dan got his question, some of his colleagues applauded. Nixon asked him, “Are you running for something?” Rather snarked, “No sir - are you??”
“Intense and driven, Rather has a reputation for volatility that at times approaches instability.
Trademark of a liberal activist.
30 years ago? Hell, you can go back 50 years ago to the Kennedy assassination when the press early on jumped on the "right wing" being responsible for causing the assassination. This didn't hold water very well once it was known Oswald was literally a card-carrying Communist.
Remember the Dem Convention in 68 Dan got beat up on the convention floor on live TV.
What a tool ..
Whatever happened to Buckhead?
Buckhead’s post is on display at the First Amendment museum in Washington D.C. The display identifies it exactly for what it is; the power of a free and open internet as a check on institutional media.
I spotted it from far enough away that I could not read the text but I could tell it was a page from FR and I knew immediately what it was.