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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Rather retirement is not about memogate

The Economist's Lexington column this week is about Dan Rather stepping down and it naturally turns to the role of bloggers. The column is correct to note that "bloggers have often been at their most devastating when they have been criticising the old media for bias. " Bias and mis-reporting would be more accurate, but we shouldn't quibble when we have old media praising new media.

After the New York Times, The Economist points out, CBS is a favourite target of bloggers. But "Why, the bloggers are now demanding, is Mr Rather being allowed to keep a full-time job working for '60 Minutes,' the very programme whose reputation he has besmirched? 'This is not a victory,' proclaims Rathergate.com, before declaring its intention to keep attacking CBS."

Many in the blogosphere have been patting themselves on the back for their supposed role in Rather's retirement. But it is just that -- retirement. Come March, the 73-year-old Rather will have served as a news reader at the network for 24 years; he was long rumoured to be contemplating relinquishing his anchor duties. (For more than a year now, Toronto media has been talking about former Much Music VJ John Roberts replacing Rather.) If Rather was pressured into resigning because of his use of forged documents, his 60 Minutes gig would be a thing of the past too  instead of a continuing past-time for him in his post-anchor days. Sorry fellow bloggers but whether this old media dog was exposed as a fraud and liar or not by new media is irrelevant to the fact that he will soon be gone from the evening broadcasts.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 27, 2004 in Media | Permalink

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