Don’t let the door hit you

I just can’t get it up over Dan Rather’s departure from CBS. Eat the Press links to those who can.

I don’t think that getting rid of him was a holy cause or necessary event for journalism or politics. But I also never liked him as an anchor. I’ve said before that the TV column I regret not getting around to writing was one arguing that Rather was the dumbest anchor alive. Mind you, dumb people can often make good reporters. Well, in this case, dumb may be the wrong word. Clueless? Socially disconnected? Goofy? I’ve seen people who’d fit those descriptions make great reporters because they will ask any question because they don’t know any better. It’s the let-Mikey-try-it school of journalism. So Rather’s oddness — the self-absorbed streak that makes him go see Good Night and Good Luck a half-dozen times and then admit it to the New York Times — served him well on the beat but not behind the desk. He came off as pompous, and so he tried to overcompensate with overdoses of corny downhomeisms. I never could stand watching him. And I know it’s heresy but I also thought Walter Cronkite was also pompous. Maybe that’s Murrow’s real legacy. These guys believed the Tiffany thing; they thought they were golden. But in the end, they merely did out loud what you (I hope) are doing quietly now: Reading.