Media / Media Bias
CBS puts Rather ahead of credibility
By Arthur Weinreb
January 18, 2005
In the last week of December, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather continued to trail the news broadcasts of its two main rivals. According to the Neilsen ratings, 8.4 million households watched NBCs Nightly News, while 7.7 were tuned in to ABCs World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. For the same time period, CBS drew only 6 million households.
The ratings for CBSs prime time news broadcast have been dropping since September when Dan Rather aired the false Bush Texas National Guard documents on an edition of 60 Minutes. Rather didnt help his cause any when he finally conceded, if that is the correct word, that the documents might be forgeries but it didnt matter because the information in them was correct. And where was the proof that the information was correct? Why, in the forged documents of course.
While the Report of the Independent Commission failed to find any anti-Bush or political bias in the production of the September 8 edition of 60 Minutes, the report was very critical of the way the program was put together. CBS reacted by firing senior producer Mary Mapes and three others, but did not take any action against Dan Rather.
On one hand it is admirable that the network is allowing Rather to leave the Evening News in March (although he will still be working on 60 Minutes where all the trouble started) rather than abruptly dumping him. But it shows that CBS, in their efforts to glorify their star news reader, seemingly dont care about their poor ratings, or in fact their credibility.
By leaving Rather at his post, CBS leaves itself open for all kinds of criticism and ridicule. For example, Rather announced on the January 13 edition of the Evening News, "A major embarrassment for the FBI: An expensive new component (a computer system) of its war on terror doesnt work." Rather characterizing something as an embarrassment led the Media Research Centre to ponder whether it takes an embarrassment to know one. MRC went on to comment on Rathers chutzpah in describing the non functioning computer as an embarrassment.
The network seems so enamoured by their star that they dont care about poor ratings, loss of advertising revenue and not being taken seriously. How will CBS ever survive when Dan does finally go?
Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Men's News Daily, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck and The Rant. Arthur can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org