Well, this is rich. The disgraced journalist who fabricated records to discredit then-presidential candidate George W. Bush and was fired from CBS as a result, is now lecturing journalists on what it means to tell the truth.
During an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell, Rather talked about President Obama's recent criticism of the media's election coverage and call for journalists to "dig deeper."
Rather began by saying that the president was "forceful" yet "measured" and there was "a lot of truth in what he said." Newsbusters provides the video and transcript:
RATHER: Perhaps the most important part was when he said, he really called out the owners of our major information centers saying in fact, you are the guys, if you wanted to, if you wanted to perform a public service, you could plant investigate reporting, hard-hitting reporting of the kind that we need particularly in this presidential election. I thought that was quite valuable and on the money.
RATHER: What’s happened to those of us in journalism, Lawrence, and I include myself in this criticism, is that in many ways we've lost our guts, we’ve lost our spine. We've lost the vision of what a journalist in a society such as ours should be and can be. Journalism at it’s best counts, it matters.
And what’s happened in this campaign, not just with what Donald Trump says but on both side---I’m not saying it’s evenly on both sides--- but, Nate silver of the New York Times said when it comes to Trump, much of the coverage has been really unconscionable and at least borderline cowardice. Cowardice is a charged word, i’m not sure if i’d go that strong. Those of us in the press and media have a lot to answer for as the president outlined in his talk last night in Washington, but I'd come back to the point that news is no longer seen by the people who own the major news outlets as something in the public trust, for the public service, it's all about money.
RATHER: [I]n a lot of ways the economics of journalism today don't allow us to do as much investigative reporting as I think needs to be done, particularly with a candidate like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or for that matter Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. You can't go along on the surface of it. It's dig deep, give the people the facts, tell them the truth. They'll make the right decision.
All fine words except that Dan Rather's "vision of what a journalist in society such as ours should be" means someone who rigs the facts to further a particular agenda.
It is by now well-known that journalism -- in the true sense - is barely sputtering out its dying breath. The rise of the blogger, the vlogger, the so-called "citizen journalist" armed with an iPhone, a Twitter account and an embellished story about this or that -- have all landed their blows on this once noble industry.