Hey, look: Dan Rather still exists. And he still considers himself a journalist. The disgraced former anchor of the CBS Evening News was given a microphone on CNN’s Reliable Sources, where he demonstrated his sheer inability to understand what the role of a journalist actually is.
“All of these people on television, some of whom I have enormous respect for, it unsettles me to hear them say, listen, we the United States have to ‘do something’ in Ukraine, we have to ‘do something’ in Syria, we have to ‘do something’ in the waters around China, we have to ‘do something’ in Iraq, we have to ‘do something’ about ISIS. What they’re talking about are combat operations,” said Dan. Dear god, no! Not combat operations! “My first question to anyone who’s on television saying ‘We have to get tough, we have to put boots on the ground, we have to go to war in one of these places’ is: I will hear you out if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war for which you are beating the drums,” he continued. “If you aren’t, I have no patience with you, and don’t even talk to me.”
Yeah, that actually happened. Dan Rather just essentially told the media to “talk to the hand.”
But methinks Dan doth protest too much. What he assumes to be the beating of war drums may actually be a realistic weighing of the options. And for a guy who was unceremoniously fired for making up the news, what gives him the right to assail the reporting of others? First of all, he doesn’t even name names, so we have no clue which war-hawks he is actually talking about. Second of all, this garbage that Rather continues to spew about sending your sons and daughters to war implies that there’s a draft. Of course, a man who lives in the past the way Dan does probably gets a little confused now and then, so let me be clear: Dan, we haven’t had a draft in four decades. America has an all-volunteer military force. If you sign up for service, it’s with the understanding that you will be sent to fight if and when it’s called for. Of course, this former 60 Minutes man has been virtually obsessed for the past decade with fake reporting about former President George W. Bush being a draft-dodger, so I wouldn’t expect him to want to actually live in the present day. The fact is, we are already AT war, whether Dan wants to believe it or not.
But this so-called “journalist” has a guilty conscience. “Those of us in journalism, and I include myself in this, we have a lot to answer for about what we did do and what we didn’t do in the run up to the war in Iraq. We didn’t ask the right questions, we didn’t ask enough questions, we didn’t ask the followup questions. We did not challenge power. I am concerned that once again as the war drums begin to beat and get louder and louder that there will be a herd mentality of saying, ‘Well, we have to go to war in Syria, we have to go to war in Ukraine.’ I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that we need to be thinking very very carefully and seriously about this, and journalists have a special responsibility to at least ask the right questions.”
And what questions would those be, oh Danny Boy? Questions about why Obama has been ignoring pretty much all of this in favor of improving his golf score? If there’s been a lack of media questions, they haven’t been about why the administration is so hellbent on going to war. To the contrary, the lack of questioning has been about why Team Obama is so dead set AGAINST anything that could resemble war. We currently have the most passive president on foreign policy since Jimmy Carter — a guy who prides himself on “ending wars” — and leave it to Dan Rather to fret that he’s starting too many conflicts. Sorry Dan, but we don’t get to pick and choose who in the world hates us. ISIS has declared war on America, but to listen to Mr. Rather, you’d think it was the other way around.
Luckily for all of us, this criticism is coming from one of the least relevant figures in all of modern media. I’m not entirely sure what Dan is doing these days that leads him to believe he’s still an actual journalist (if he ever was one), but I’d be surprised to find him working any job right now that doesn’t involve cleaning up animal excrement from a barn somewhere in Texas.
Then again, maybe he’s just been fronting the now-disbanded R.E.M. at local bars:
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