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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dan Rather: "Completely Uncensored"

Today's question: How pathetic can a once-respected journalist be and expect to be taken seriously? Answer: Pretty darned pathetic. When Dan Rather asserted that the dubious documents concerning Bush's military service had been "authenticated," he went way out on a limb. When Rather continued to defend the documents, he sawed off the limb and fell to the ground. Ever since that fateful day, Dan has been waging a proud campaign against gravity. After CBS yanked him from the anchor desk, Rather declared that his new mission was to "speak truth to power." Are you embarrassed yet? Dan Rather has become interesting in much the same way that his old nemesis Richard Nixon was, during the "I am not a crook" final White House days. It took years, but Nixon came back from disgrace. Rather's comeback took — oh, ten days. Dan returns as a clown. It's not clear whether he will actually juggle, or wear a fright wig and red plastic nose when he hosts his newest TV venture: a weekly news program, "Dan Rather Reports," which will feature (cue the circus music) "hard-edged field reports, interviews and investigative pieces" that will be "completely uncensored." This according to Mark Cuban, Co-Founder of HDNet. Well, that clears things up for me. See, Dan's problem at CBS was "censorship." I think this means the people who paid his salary kept asking: Dan, do you have any spiral notebooks containing facts that might help us understand these wild political assertions you keep making? How oppressive. Rather's new patron Mr. Cuban gives a sense of his tenuous grasp on reality when he declares, with no hint of humor: "Now that he is finally released from the ratings driven and limited depth confines of broadcast television, I am excited about the impact Dan can have on the future of news." Allow me to translate. "No ratings" means Dan can keep at it, irrespective of absent viewers. Being freed to explore greater "depth" mean he's free to dig himself deep holes, and keep digging with no one telling him he has to stop. Got it? Dan Rather's studio will be a playground; he'll be sitting in a sandbox with shovel and pail. That's where Dan will shape "the future of news." The most important question is a psychological one. Is there a point at which Mr. Rather will be capable of embarrassment? On a related note, I am pleased to report that I was today asked to become Crown Prince of Liechtenstein, a position heretofore attainable exclusively on the basis of heredity. I have taken the invitation under advisement. If I decide to accept the position, I shall have a large castle with many guest chambers. Please, won't you all plan to visit?