Online killed the video star

Online killed the video star

: The obit has been written many times. Tonight we buried the body.

This was the end of the era of the anchor, of news as a lecture, of one-size-fits-all media, of journalism on a pedestal.

That’s not Dan Rather’s fault. Other things are, but that’s not. tonight, he’s merely a symbol of an era that’s over.

I see no cause for regret. The era of the reporter — brave, swashbuckling, aggressive, eager — is not over; there will always be Dan Rathers who will stay on top of the big story and shout about it.

But the era of one-way news is gone. And in a sense, we have Dan Rather to thank for that. If his last mistake had been a little less obvious, if his response had been a little bit quicker, if his tone had been a little less arrogant, he’d be back on the news tomorrow night.

What matters isn’t that he’s gone. And what matters isn’t that bloggers got his head.

What matters is that bloggers have to be listened to. What matters is that the people will be heard.

Though I was hardly was his greatest fan, I have to admire Rather’s dogged energy and I have to feel some sympathy for ending his amazing run with a stumble.

But no one else would have provided the contrast he did: old v. new, big v. small, controlled v. open. By that contrast, we see the future of news.

The only problem for Rather was that his last big story was Rather.

: More reaction…

: It takes a special breed of balls to end the last broadcast with the word “courage.” I honestly don’t know whether he is all that hokey or whether he has a wicked sense of humor.

: Lone Ranger, a broadcast journalist, says:

Call me sentimental, but I watched the last minute of the CBS news tonight. It was the first time I’d watched Dan Rather in 20 years. But then, I had a box of chicken the day Colonel Sanders died too. Nothing dramatic happened. It was just chicken.

Oh, and nothing dramatic happened on the CBS news tonight either. He didn’t put a gun to his head, the staff didn’t break out in a spontaneous rendition of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” not so much as a single tear slid down his cheek.

:

  • richard mcenroe

    Dan Rather launched his career with a lie and he ended it with a lie. There’s something almost classical in the symmetry… or if not classical, then right out of the Hays Office.

  • http://www.lafn.org/~zeppenwolf zeppenwolf

    Who’s got a link to the story about when Rather was in Dallas he went with the story of “lily-white” school kids cheering when they heard that J.F.K had been killed, even though Dan knew it wasn’t true?
    Know what I’m talking about?

  • Mike NYC

    “The obit has been written many times. Tonight we buried the body.”
    Good lord, you take yourself more seriously than even Dan Rather does.

  • C Bassett

    What was with the 4 or 5 seconds between “courage” and “goodnight”? He just looked odd, sitting there, eyes wide open, looking at the camera. Brokaw ended his last broadcast with a smile. Rather just kinda… stared at us.

  • JRK
  • SteveMG

    Zeppenwolf:
    Here’s the link to the story re the children cheering at Dallas after JFKs’ death. Need to copy and paste.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/324nfvwe.asp
    Pretty damning allegations against Mr. Rather.
    Interesting, is it not, that the defenders of Mr. Rather – like Tom Shales – who are angry at the “right wing” mob that got Rather don’t seem to have much animosity directed at the person or persons who set Rather up with the phony documents?
    The real culprits that caused Rather’s eventual downfall – at least in this incident – are the individuals who fed him this bogus information. Mr. Shales et al. seem to have little interest in getting those bastards and almost total interest in getting the “right wing” bastards.
    SMG

  • http://sandhill.typepad.com/ fp

    Talking heads is talking heads. Amazes me how many people watch commercial broadcast TV. Lots of you out there!

  • -asx-

    Dancing on graves is not becomming of anyone. Taking credit for the demise is downright twisted.
    I don’t know how you can live with yourself.

  • kl

    I didn’t get a harrumph outta that guy!

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    Dan who? That’s what my undergrads said. Rightly so. Who cares? It’s a brave new world out there. Just like for every generation. My grandfather moaned over the end of live radio drama. I get it. Sorry it’s over, but move on….

  • Eileen

    “The only problem for Rather was that his last big story was Rather.”
    How very right you are, JJ. That for me was the only lamentable fact about his demise/earlier than planned retirement. Maybe now he’ll start blogging :)?
    I thought it was smart to focus on 9/11 as the biggest story of his career. My tears were shed on that footage; not his adieu. But as much as I disagreed with his politics and efforts to bring down the Prez, there is some sadness that his career ended on such a sorry note. Onward.

  • richard mcenroe

    asx

  • Mumblix Grumph

    I just have to wonder how many “Memogate” stories were fed to us while the news was a one way street.
    News has changed dramatically in just the last few years and will continue to evolve.
    When was the last time you saw a “newsreel” at your local movie house? No one misses guys like Ed Herlihy, and we won’t miss TV news anchors when they become obselete.

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com gandhi

    Meanwhile, the fact that Bush actually DID NOT PERFORM HIS MILITARY SERVICE remains unacknowledged.
    Meanwhile US troops in Iraq continue abusing and killing countless innocent victims, including journalists.
    The Emperor dances around naked as a whore while paid lackies like Jeff Jarvis attack anyone who dares suggest the TRUTH.
    For shame, America…

  • J. Peden

    Of course, the noble gandhi does nothing about any problem at all, except complain. He somehow seems to sense his own lunacy, and that it is the/his own real problem. Is that a start, Mahatma?

  • chris harrison

    Dan Rather is and was good for America. He is a kind soul who has good principles. I couldn’t say the same for the “reporters” at Faux news. They are sensationalistic, mean spirited, arrogant and rude. America would do well to pay attention to great men like Mr. Rather and turn off the right wing crap that is ruining this country. The right has messed this country up bad. Deficits, war,religious bigotry,high gas prices,dismantling good govt programs. We’re on the road to harder times and right now we need real reporters like Mr. Rather to help steer us to better days.

  • kl

    Good one!
    “Meanwhile, the fact that Bush actually DID NOT PERFORM HIS MILITARY SERVICE remains unacknowledged.”
    Damn right it’s a fact. They’ve got memos to prove it and everything.

  • Eileen

    My dear Chris says: “We’re on the road to harder times…”
    Oh no, m’dear. We’re onto much better times, indeed.
    And asx? Don’t you know that the Irish dance on the graves of their ancestors in tribute, to honor them with total love?
    gandhi, supposed voice, why don’t you come on over, become an American citizen, and then your words will begin to matter in some scintilla of a breath in time. In the meantime, your hatred contributes NOTHING of import on the face of the globe.

  • http://civilities.net/ Jon Garfunkel

    If this is the news conversation, I think I want the lecture back. btw, the folks at RatherBiased wanted the Rather piece to go up on newyorker.com. Better subscribe, then.

  • Eileen

    O holier than thou, Jon Garfunkel….?
    Not.

  • HA

    I think the death of evening news is greatly exaggerated. Online didn’t kill the video star. The video star killed himself by being a lousy reporter. Rather had a partisan agenda, and not being content to merely report the news, felt he had to create news on behalf of his agenda. Bloggers just caught him.
    No, the evening news broadcast is in decline for two reasons. First and foremost, they are partisan hacks. They have abandoned a market segment of half the country in pursuit of a partisan agenda. And the half of the country that shares their agenda is so naive, apathetic and cynical that they think Jon Stewart is a news man. Secondly, Fox News is beating the crap out of them.
    If CBS lured Brit Hume away from Fox, their evening news program would take off. Or maybe John Stossel. If they did this, people would stop announcing the death of evening news. I doubt that the CBS execs are smart enough to recognize this. And even if they are, they would have to overcome the resistance of the partisan hacks within the organization.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    gandhi: “Meanwhile, the fact that Bush actually DID NOT PERFORM HIS MILITARY SERVICE remains unacknowledged.”
    Clinton’s military service also dazzles.
    gandhi, the problem isn’t finding proof; the problem is that nobody really cares except for those already firmly in the anti-Bush camp. Bush, like Clinton before him, never sold his military record as his qualification for the presidency — unlike Kerry, who made it his centerpiece, the entire reason for his existence, thus opening him up to far more scrutiny on the issue. The fact that the left can’t grasp this obvious and elementary distinction tends to belie their claim that they’re smarter than the rest of us.
    Pardon the cliche, but the AWOL story is a dead horse you’re beating, and has been for some time, just as the right’s draft-dodger charges against Clinton were ineffectual. The public is well aware of the AWOL charges and have yawned in the left’s face — that seems to be the real root of leftist frustration over the story. If the elections hadn’t been so close when Rather showboated the forgeries, that story would have been a yawner as well.
    To the issue at hand: I was working, so I didn’t see Rather’s farewell, but from the description of his signoff I would have to guess that he believes he was speaking directly to the great mass of true believers who are still on his side: “Courage,” because the right wing boogeymen might get you like they got me. A man who believes that is not going to sign off with a smile.

  • Gregg

    “Clinton’s military service also dazzles.”
    Irrelevant to this discussion.

  • von

    …and I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their blog..

  • http://blogs.rny.com/sbw/ sbw

    Good point, Jeff. Blogs did not bring him down. Dan Rather was an emperor, convinced of his raiment, that ordinary people saw strutting naked. Ordinary people rightfully despaired the future of their news, and were embarrassed for Rather when he, himself, was not.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Mike NYC:
    Very fair.
    You should be really glad I cut out the line about sitting shiva…

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    Gregg: that’s just the point!
    Clinton’s military service is irrelevant to most people. Bush’s military service is similarly irrelevant most people. As a partisan, you may obsess over the issue; but some zanier Republicans obsess over Clinton’s draft dodging *to this day* for no good reason and for no good result. Why would you want to be like that?
    Whether you are a Republican obsessing over Clinton’s military record or a Democrat obsessing over Bush’ military record, the fact that you find one relevant and the other not is simply partisanship. Period.
    The Kerry exception — and this would go for a Republican as well!!! — is if your line is that you want to be a war hero President, your war hero credentials have been put on the table as a serious, debatable matter. That is why the Swifties succeeded where both the Democratic AWOLers and Republican Clinton hounds failed. It wasn’t that the Swifties were better funded or more skillful; their argument was just simply more relevant to the national debate on Senator Kerry as framed by Senator Kerry *himself*. The Bush and Clinton matters were *both* attempts to introduce irrelevancies to the debate.
    So the issue is no longer finding proof or not of the AWOL charges; the question becomes, does the left move on to more important issues, or does it just keep ranting about things nobody cares about?
    Speaking of irrelevancies, apologies to JJ for taking up so much of his bandwidth for this dead issue.

  • Matthew Ryan

    Missed the news but caught the 1 hour retrospective. Though it wasn’t intentional I think Rather actually tipped his hand in the first 3/4ths of the show. I guess I never understood this fully before but Rather was a true believer, every bit as ideological as Bush is. And it’s explained by his history: if I saw what he saw through the 60s and 70s I might have the same prejudices. So in that sense, it increased my understanding.
    The last 10 minutes addressed Rathergate….rather it was a defense of his behavior. The editing was slick: truncated quotes, evil partisans, fake but true – all the old favorites were trotted out.
    But the best part was in the middle of the montage: Bob Kerrey appeared for about five seconds. This is, of course, the proof that Dan offered earlier to show that he and 60 Minutes is balanced. Because 4? 5? 6? years ago they did a negative story on a retired Democratic Senator. It’s funny that Rather pushes Bob Kerrey as part of his defense when I think it seals the deal that he was partisan i.e. if that’s the best you got you got nothing.

  • Matthew Ryan

    Missed the news but caught the 1 hour retrospective. Though it wasn’t intentional I think Rather actually tipped his hand in the first 3/4ths of the show. I guess I never understood this fully before but Rather was a true believer, every bit as ideological as Bush is. And it’s explained by his history: if I saw what he saw through the 60s and 70s I might have the same prejudices. So in that sense, it increased my understanding.
    The last 10 minutes addressed Rathergate….rather it was a defense of his behavior. The editing was slick: truncated quotes, evil partisans, fake but true – all the old favorites were trotted out.
    But the best part was in the middle of the montage: Bob Kerrey appeared for about five seconds. This is, of course, the proof that Dan offered earlier to show that he and 60 Minutes is balanced. Because 4? 5? 6? years ago they did a negative story on a retired Democratic Senator. It’s funny that Rather pushes Bob Kerrey as part of his defense when I think it seals the deal that he was partisan i.e. if that’s the best you got you got nothing.

  • http://www.lafn.org/~zeppenwolf zeppenwolf

    Thanks, SteveMG.
    One last peeve: it’s RatherGate, not “Memogate”.
    Why? Because those memos, clearly the worst forgeries in the history of space-time, could not and never would have created the fiasco by themselves.
    The sine qua non of RatherGate was Dan’s unspeakable bias, arrogance, and flagrant… well, jihad. Five years, he & Mapes worked for that story. Bill Burkett is an “unimpeachable source”, while these same people ignored 240 swiftboat veterans (of varying politics) because they were “too partisan”.
    It was Dan who created RatherGate, not the memos.

  • Mike NYC

    Jeff Jarvis says: “Very fair. You should be really glad I cut out the line about sitting shiva…”
    You just made me laugh out loud in the library. Good self edit.

  • chris harrison

    Hey Eileen how much are you paying at the pump? Do you think we should invade Venezuela? Do you know anything about foreign affairs aside from what you see on Faux? What countries and billionaires just pegged all they had to the Euro? There is a much bigger picture going on and you seem to be in the dark. Maybe your one of the lucky fat cats who has money already. I’m glad the system is working so well for ya. Maybe in the next world you can explain to your god how the war and greed you believed in was good for the planet?

  • Matthew Ryan

    Chris
    Back up your stipulations with facts and we’ll see if what you say makes any sense at all. I believe that the world today is a far better place than the one 20 years ago. Ask a Pole if you don’t believe me. Check per capita real income trends in China and India. Check US households home ownership and wealth trends (escpecially Black and Hispanic rates). Then let’s see who’s in the dark about the direction that the earth’s inhabitants are largely moving in.
    Oh, I’m also reasonably successful and I don’t have any guilt about it. Zero. I’ve had my share of luck, both good and bad. I’ve worked piece work in a factory, emptied ash trays in office buildings, washed pans at a bakery and scooped ice cream at Brigham’s. I served 11 years in the military. I worked my way to midlevel-management in a 2nd career. I live in one of the most expensive areas in the country and I have a pool in my backyard. Does your god say that I should be ashamed of this?

  • http://http://sandhill.typepad.com fp

    Matthew Ryan, you sound empty headed and sanctimonious to boot. The breakthrough in Poland came in 1980 with the emergence of the Interfactory Strike Committee, which rapidly evolved into the Solidarity mass movement of some 10 million Poles. Guided by Lech Walesa, the Interfactory Strike Committee won historic concessions from the communists in the Gdansk Agreement of August 31, 1980.
    First, that’s more than 20 years ago. Second, that’s Jimmy Carter’s legacy, not Ronald Reagan’s (though I wouldn’t expect you to know who was president that far back).
    The per capita income boosts for much of the third world came as a result of Clinton’s policies. I’m not sure what your point has been here, but it looked like partisan baboon yammering Republican claptrap, so I thought I’d add fule to the fire.

  • Matthew Ryan

    Thanks fp. Make that “25 years ago” for Poland. The poor Poles today are no better off than they were 20 years ago as I aserted. I stand humbled.
    And I accept your stipulation that Clinton and Carter drove most of the gains of the last quarter century or so (hah!) in the 3rd world and any other world you wish to claim for the Democrats. I don’t much care who gets the credit for the positive trends in the world. I’m more interested in the fact that they actually occured/will continue to occur. Why does it seem that so many ‘full headed’ people seem to be unaware of this?

  • chris harrison

    Ok Matthew here are my facts. Venezuela is currently the 4th largest oil producer in the world. Hugo Chavez, thier democraticly elected leader, has just signed a contract with India and China. He is working on closing down 14,000 gas stations across the U.S. because Bush tried to off him in a coup not too long ago. He wants to form a South American OPEC and is pulling it off. Its easy for him to do these days because South America was ENRON’d! Remember when everyone had thier accounts frozen in Argentina? Now last month Warren Buffet and Bill Gates announced they we’re converting thier currency to Euros because the dollar is declining. At the same time at the World Economic Summit, China, Russia, and South Korea announced they were pegging thier currencies to the Euro. Gas prices are escalating now which is ironic since the President actually is an oil tycoon. We are at war with no end in site and deficits out our asses! Government has actually expanded under Bush. The church is now paid for by the government. I’m agnostic but my money is funneled by the gov’t to religious groups. This is not the way America was supposed to be.

  • Eileen

    chris,
    Sorry for the delay in responding.
    You made quite a few assumptions about me, all of which were – in a word – wrong. But that’s ok. If it managed to cheer you up in the process (and since my effort to assist in that regard clearly failed) bully for you.
    Back to your original comment, to which I responded.
    I get so tired of the constant gnashing, trashing, thrashing and slashing. Neither the left Nor the right are responsible for all the ills of the country/world or for all the good, either. If you prefer to see a half empty glass in the process of assigning ‘blame’, have at it. But kindly don’t make me your stereotypical right wing enemy because I sent a few positive words your way.
    Eh?

  • http://sandhill.typepad.com/ fp

    But wait, Matthew Ryan! There’s more. And thank you for not whipping out your compelling command of global political and socioeconomic conditions and thrashing me with it. You see, while the Solidarity movement did indeed emerge during the Carter administration, it was quickly repressed by the Polish communist regime and it did not re-emerge until America had suffered the embarassment of two (count em, two) terms under the senex.
    The “poor Poles” actually are a lot better off than they were 20 years ago, and as you observed it’s not about who to credit in the US for their progress. Your sense that the Indians and Chinese are better off because per capita income figures appear to be rising is a useless generalization. Basically you and I are blowing a lot of hot air here. The difference between us might be that I’m amused by it and you think you’re on to something.
    On something is more like it, if I’m any judge of Republicans.

  • chris harrison

    Eileen I was wrong. I misunderstood what you wrote. I apologize. I thought you were being sarcastic.

  • Eileen

    Not a problem, chris. Thanks for your apology.

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