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Rather writes: "As you know, we are living in an age when big money owns everything...including the news. That cash bought a lot of silence for a long time. Enough time for unchecked power to get this country tangled into messes all around the world. We all know that money talks. But, so do the people. They tire of conflicts at home and abroad...conflicts that avert our eyes from the corruption and callowness that does little more than spill our blood and misspend our treasure. 'We had fed the heart on fantasies,' wrote William Butler Yeats, 'the heart's grown brutal from the fare.' In other words, we have gotten used to it."

First Amendment lawyer James Goodale with Dan Rather, recipient of the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award, at the Waldorf Astoria, 11/22/11. (photo: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg)
First Amendment lawyer James Goodale with Dan Rather, recipient of the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award, at the Waldorf Astoria, 11/22/11. (photo: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg)

And, We Have Gotten Used to It

By Dan Rather, Reader Supported News

28 November 11

Reader Supported News | Perspective


On November 22, Dan Rather received the Committee to Protect Journalists' Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for 2011 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. What follows is the speech he gave upon accepting the prestigious award. -- JPS/RSN


ne of Bud Benjamin's dreams was to expand the CBS Evening News to a full hour. And Bud wasn't thinking of filling it with helicopter shots, celebrity gossip and punditry. He imagined an entire hour brimming with investigative reporting, exposés and dispatches from around the world.

It was a different time in journalism. A time when professional duty was patriotic, and the freedom of the press motivated and inspired newsrooms. I know it is hard to believe - but it's true - newsrooms were not supposed to turn a profit. Frankly, news was considered an acceptable loss on the balance sheet.

To keep our FCC license and the public trust, we had to use the public's airwaves in the public interest. Yes, that's a whole lot of "public." But that's the way it was. It's the way it should be again.

Today, how we look and how we "present" information has become far more important than how we gather it. It's upside down and backwards. And, the worst part is ... we have gotten used to it.

The caretakers of the Fourth Estate have, at times, left the building unattended. Public interest be damned.

It was Thomas Jefferson who noted in 1799 that, "Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light."

Jefferson trusted the press - not to stir up heat, but to deliver insight.

Of course freedom of the press and of speech both come with pitfalls. People can peddle opinions as if they were facts. Those armed with the big, expensive megaphones drown out those blowing whistles.

But now, we see our fellow citizens taking to the streets. And, that my friends, is our cue to get back to work. As the People of our nation begin rising up, they expect the business of news to be about inquiry and accountability.

And, luckily for us, we can still do that ... but it may not be within the confines of big corporate media. As you know, we are living in an age when big money owns everything ... including the news.

That cash bought a lot of silence for a long time. Enough time for unchecked power to get this country tangled into messes all around the world. We all know that money talks. But, so do the people. They tire of conflicts at home and abroad ... conflicts that avert our eyes from the corruption and callowness that does little more than spill our blood and misspend our treasure.

"We had fed the heart on fantasies," wrote William Butler Yeats, "the heart's grown brutal from the fare."

In other words, we have gotten used to it.

What happens to a country when the press helps divide people into Us and Them? When it fans the flames of conflict and calls it reporting?

We need to restore, at some point, the teaching of the craft of journalism. The best way to protect journalists is to teach them how to do journalism and, therefore, protect themselves from becoming irrelevant.

I am reminded of the finest speech I ever heard on the subject of television journalism. It was given by Ed Murrow in 1958.

Murrow said, "This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But, it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends ... otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box."

Dear friends, we must untangle the wires from the lights. We must halt the steady decline of broadcast journalism and the endless compromises to the boardroom.

Some say it is too late. That Congress wrote our epitaph in 1996 when they all came together and passed the Telecommunications Deregulation Act. Since then, the lights in a box have gotten brighter and flashier ... but the truth dimmer and dimmer.

And ... we have gotten used to it.

The late, great Molly Ivins used to tell a story about what happens when fear grips a country. Molly liked to tell the story about her late friend, the celebrated Texas civil libertarian John Henry Faulk, who, as a boy of six, went with his seven-year-old friend, Boots Cooper, to rid the family henhouse of a harmless chicken snake. From its high perch, the boys found themselves eyeball to eyeball with the snake.

Growing up in Texas, it's not uncommon to see a chicken snake ... but being close enough to spit in the snake's eye must have been quite disconcerting.

As Molly would tell the story, the two boys ran out of the henhouse so fast they nearly tore off the henhouse door ... not to mention doing damage to themselves in the process. When Faulk's mother reminded the boys that chicken snakes are not dangerous, Boots Cooper responded, "Yes, ma'am, but some things will scare you so bad, you'll hurt yourself."

That is what we have been subject to as a country. We have been so afraid; so hell bent on destroying enemies ... both foreign and domestic ... we have hurt ourselves and our democracy.

You are probably asking yourself now what you should do.

Well, it may take courage.

There are so many wrongs to make right, it is going to get messier before it gets better.

  • We have to begin asking the hard questions once again.

  • We have to demand and earn back the respect that gave us the right to ask them.

  • We must protect whistleblowers by using our megaphones to make their risky admissions even louder.

  • We must demand access to all those risking their lives to challenge power.

  • We must refuse to simply read press releases and rely on official sources.

  • And we must begin to enforce our own professional code of ethics. Refuse to compromise. Going along to get along is getting us nowhere.

Tonight, if I can convince you of anything, it is to buck the current system. Remember anew that you are a public servant and your business is protecting the public from harm. Even if those doing harm also pay your salary.

To once again quote Ed Murrow, "There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference ... this weapon of television could be useful."

And wouldn't it be great if our country could get used to that. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+183 # Tippitc 2011-11-28 19:44
Truth and facts in the media - how refreshing that would be!! Not truth or fact that has been bent and twisted so badly it is on the verge of breaking or has already snapped.

And celebrity gossip is not news, it is gossip!!
-64 # AndreM5 2011-11-29 10:47
I lost confidence in Rather during the fictional Warren Commission. Here he was a TV reporter doing voiceovers on slow-mo footage of the Zapruter film. When Kennedy's head plainly snaps backward from the bullet, he states his head snaps "forward," over and over again. Years later he admits he got it wrong. Huh?
-11 # bedleysmutler 2011-12-02 09:39
His comments in support of the lone assassin myth propelled him from backwater Dallas to NY.
+171 # pernsey 2011-11-28 21:43
"Today, how we look and how we "present" information has become far more important than how we gather it. It's upside down and backwards. And, the worst part is ... we have gotten used to it."

Thanks to FOX News and Rupert Murdoch our news is nothing but spin and slanted lies and an absolute mockery. I miss real reporting instead of opinion and drivel.
+104 # shjlaw 2011-11-29 00:55
Fox and Murdoch are easy targets and, most certainly, deserve plenty of blame. On the other hand, there is plenty of blame to go around. Most other sources followed Fox's formula in an effort to "compete", to woo advertisers, and to turn news into a profit center. Hell, I'm a progressive and most days I am hard pressed to tolerate even MSNBC...the hype, the hysteria, the hyperbole, the so-called experts that speculate, speculate, and speculate some more. It's just so much noise. Ouch! But back to my point: we the people share much of the blame. Fox wouldn't be so popular, so influential if the people weren't watching! Rather knows this. He knows real reporting requires bucking the trend and ignoring the ratings. His is a plea for genuine patriots, brave-hearted champions that are willing to do the difficult work of saving us from ourselves. In the meantime, boycott Fox; not just Fox news but all Fox productions and pray the rest of the country tires of what it has "gotten used to."
+5 # bedleysmutler 2011-12-02 09:40
"He knows real reporting requires bucking the trend and ignoring the ratings. "

See AndrewM5 comments above.
+64 # AndreM5 2011-11-29 10:31
FOX News = GOPTV. It was conceived as such during the Nixon administration but no one then believed it would be tolerated.
-62 # MidwestTom 2011-11-28 23:21
All of that new money was created by the Fed, and only one candidate is campaigning against the Fed, Ron Paul. do you suppose there us a reason why the Bug Money Owned Media will not give him a break? As far as Bug Media us concerned Ron Paul does not exist. He wants to eliminate their gravy train.
+42 # futhark 2011-11-29 06:34
Reader Supported News readers and posters generally take a dim view of Ron Paul, most likely because he violates the oft-repeated principle NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN! However, I appreciate a guy who can stand up against powerful party leadership and can speak at least some of the truth.

Big Money Owned Media has no intention of giving Ron Paul any free publicity whatsoever, as he constitutes a rather potent threat against the plutocratic oligarchy that draws its strength from endless warfare, market manipulations, and constant surveillance.

Yes, I'd love to see a candidate with Ron Paul's courage and rational critique of the power establishment who also favored using our national resources for single payer medical insurance. Right now the main thing is to end these wars. America, heal thyself!
+79 # AndreM5 2011-11-29 10:30
The key problem is the part where he "can speak at least some of the truth."

The rest is pure fantasy from a guy who has done zero over decades to improve the plight of Americans. Paul admits he wants us to be free to die from lack of access to healthcare, to eliminate all public programs servicing the commons--roads, SS, MC, schools, air traffic control, everything--in favor of a "free market."

Anyone who thinks the sociopath Ayn Rand was a genius does not get my vote.

By the way, Paul is NOT the only one campaigning agains the Fed--not by a long shot. IN FACT, the only ones who have actually DONE ANYTHING about the Fed are Barney Frank, Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson. They all want the Fed made public and they have successfully passed legislation to reveal the awful secrets of the Fed Bailouts.

What leadership role has Paul EVER taken? What accomplishment besides delivering 3000 babies?
+32 # AndreM5 2011-11-30 12:14
I failed to include Dennis Kucinich, a stalwart against the private Fed.
+11 # RLF 2011-11-30 08:06
He also could run third party and split the Rethug vote.

Rather forgot one other thing to stop relying on think tanks for reporting...esp ecially when it is not stated that it is a right or left think tank, like NPR does constantly.
+12 # Capn Canard 2011-11-29 10:16
I respect Ron Paul. He hasn't really changed his views like a Romney or Gingrich. Hard not to like him. He has some real libertarian ideals and this makes him attractive to an anarchist like me, but I stop short because he seems perhaps a little to close to a Federalist view. I support the idea of getting rid of the FED. The Federal Reserve could easily be replaced by an actual Gov't central bank, instead of a private bank like the FED. It would certainly be a great deal cheaper for tax payers.
+90 # Cliffard 2011-11-28 23:34
Yes, Fox may be the obvious front runner, but theirs is so far out there that many can see it for the drivel it is. The more dangerous and worse culprits are those that Sarah likes to call the "lamestream media". They live closer to the edge of reason and that makes their deception more effective and way more dangerous. It is not the radical right that is killing this country, it is those in the complicit middle. I think that is the message Mr Rather is trying to convey
-109 # kitster 2011-11-28 23:42
dan rather...he used to have his eye on the prize and his hands in the till...
then the bushies got him bumped. now he's urging his fellow news flaks to forsake their filthy lucure and follow him into yesterday's headline hell.

would he still be worried about whether he looks more "hard news hero" with his trench coat on or off...if cbs hadn't pulled his plug? where was his conscience when he cashing in bigtime?

yeah, most of today's news is tabloid trash, pr copy or bobble-head babble. so take two bows, for your award and one for helping nail the coffin shut on hard news reporting.
+64 # John Gill 2011-11-29 03:11
growing up in the 60s on Walter Cronkite, I remember what network news meant to my Dad and Mom, and to my sister and me. When Dan Rather sat in the big chair, it seemed as if he had inherited Cronkite's mantle, and wore it well. I don't remember exactly when it was we began to feel he was selling us out, or why. I think it was a gradual thing, like slowly beginning to realize a person you married for love, and were used to hearing the truth from, was telling you lies. It snuck up on us. The thing is, I suspect it snuck up on him, too. Still, all these years later,I think I'd like to give the fellow the benefit of the doubt. You know, for old time's sake.
+21 # goodsensecynic 2011-11-29 08:27
Forgive the fading memory of someone who grew up on Edward R. Murrow when watching US TV from Toronto, but I seem to recall Rather appearing on a chat show (Letterman?) and of your country's wars (Iraq? Afghanistan?). And I remember him saying that if his Commander-in-Ch ief (I'm pretty sure he meant Obama and not Bush) asked him to go, then he'd leap at the chance to fight for freedom (or something like that).

Whatever his actual words, it was a gush of uncritical "patriotism" that might have come from the gob of Sarah bin-Palin. I was "appalled," but not "shocked," since Rather had long since revealed himself as a corporate mouthpiece.

Has he had a genuine change of heart? Has he finally seen "the light"? Or is he just thinking he'd best get on the right side (I hope) of history, and doesn't want to leave a legacy as the last of the mainstream sycophants?

I dunno. Maybe I'll give him the benefit of the doubt too; but, even if he's lying, I hope that this little speech fits into the tradition (though I don't imagine it'll have the same effect) of Walter Cronkite's washing his journalistic hands of Vietnam.

Or, maybe this will give FOX another excuse to talk about the "liberal" media.

Hard to say ... for your republic seems to be having a nervous breakdown and the road to recovery isn't guaranteed.
+13 # Capn Canard 2011-11-29 10:21
I would agree with you if there was credibility to the old saw of objective journalism. Inherent bias is very difficult to counter when there is such widespread cultural conditioning. It is more of a goal than a hard and fast absolute reality that journalists are always unbiased.
+89 # Subliberal 2011-11-29 03:59
"Eye on the prize and his hands in the till.."

Hey, pretty snappy, but a total non sequiter. Rather was sandbagged with a counterfeit copy of a real document, the origins of which of course got buried in the trash talk by the rightwing assassination machine, but the story - that Bush avoided his Air National Guard commitments - remain revealed in other places, notably in Greg Palast's "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy".
Palast is, of course, Rather's source, and Palast's reporting on Bush has not and cannot be impeached, because it's the truth.
+70 # Erdajean 2011-11-29 08:38
I don't know how "counterfeit" Rather's copy of the Bad Baby Bush papers was, but others in the media had the same thing -- probably including Greg Palast. And it looked like the Gospel to me. Still does.
So therefore, publishers were terrified of it. After all, truth-tellers got "disappeared" for far less. Rather thought he had CBS behind him when he "told" -- but what he had was the shark-infested deep blue sea. He got dumped and devoured, and Bad Baby Bush, judged criminal elsewhere, still smirks on the lavish taxpayers' dole. Sickens me to death.
+14 # tomo 2011-12-01 22:53
Some things are devilish in the sense they can hardly ever get straightened out. The Am Bush of Rather was one such. Rather's story was essentially true, but had a swerve in it--true information wrapped in a forgery--that redirected the whole story from Bush to Rather. Masterful! Reminds me of G. H. W.'s nomination of Clarence Thomas. LOOKS like a favor to minorities, but is actually a kind of stealth bomber--a weapon to attack minorities that the protectors of minorities can hardly find their way to defend against--lest in defending minorities they look like attackers. Masterful! The Bushes seldom clarify anything; but they have a magisterial way of blurring the outlines of things to the point that any subsequent clarification is almost impossible.
+91 # cordleycoit 2011-11-28 23:48
As a boy in the late forties I was told that Television would soon be interactive and we all would be able to learn though the collage of the air. Great men would teach the people. Instead small men entrained the people and the dream of television was strangled like a Spanish Anarchist. The dream was stifled. That too is the future of the Internet if do not fight the Corporate State. Thank you Dan for trying.
+63 # Byronator 2011-11-29 00:05
Thank you, Dan, for your brave insightful commentary. The corporate media lackeys on today's news channels are dishing out intellectual junk food, fattening the heads of the viewers. Only lethargic morons think their banal, toxic fare is worth consuming because they've "gotten used to it." Loved the Yeats quote (OMG, how elitist!)
+67 # Carolyn 2011-11-29 00:10
Long ago, there was a musical, "South Pacific". In it, there was a song that comes to my mind now.
"You have to be taught to be afraid ******
"You have to be taught before it's too late.
Before your are 6 or7 or8,
to hate all the people your relatives hate.
You have to be carefully taught."
It isn't our relatives, anymore, it's our fearful leaders -- Bush, Cheney, Obama -- "we must have our military presence in the Pacific area now. the Russians and Chinese and Indians as well as Iran and Syria and Pakistan-- whatever it takes to get war going -- global war --
+118 # redjelly39 2011-11-29 00:10
In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote "in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market.

In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's (Comcast) NBC is a close sixth.
+20 # Barbara N Shabo RN 2011-11-29 00:57
Thank you for this insight.
-23 # geov 2011-11-29 00:25
Now, Dan spouts off like he's writing for the Daily Worker. But back in the day, when he had a platform and real power, when, like his predecessor (Cronkite), he had both the soapbox and the moral authority to speak out occasionally, he was as much of a corporate tool as any of his colleagues.

Now he's insulting their intelligence and integrity by telling them to advocate for what he did not have the moral compass himself to advocate for? And we're supposed to applaud? And think a new generation of news readers who grew up on Rather is going to be inspired by his words rather than his actions?
+9 # SeriousCitizen 2011-11-29 01:07
Dan Rather is the last person to get this award. In the days directly after the 9-11 events, he was hook-line-and-s inker in support of the immediate myth that those events were caused by Islamic fanatics who hate freedom. He never asked, "How could burning jet fuel cause structural steel to liquify?" "Why did WTC Building 7 fall down as if by demolition, when it was not even hit by an airplane?" "Who were those celebrating foreigners in NY Jersey?" No, Dan Rather did not do his job. And we are still paying the price in lost freedoms, foreign wars, and corrupted democracy.
+48 # maddave 2011-11-29 01:09
Our TV is the most subversive entity ever devised! We & our kids watch it 8 - 10 hours per day and here is what we learn through endless repetition:
1. Nobody works for a living. Manual labor is for jerks & low-class losers.
2, Kids invariably know more than their parents.
3. Authority figures - managers, bosses, etc- are jerks, stupid, obstacles to progress and - like as not - crooked.
4. Everybody is entitled to fancy duds, hot cars, the latest elex fads, $200 sneakers - with no visible means of support.
5. All problems are solved - usually quite easily - in 30-to-60 minutes.
6. All one-liners, even the irredeemably stupid ones, rate (and get) a laugh track.
7. It's cool to be a dummy in school.
8 Fox & Network news? Forget about it! The news? All are owned by Corporate America & have an agenda, .
8. TV producers give us what we WANT to watch and advertisers pay for these programs - so it ain't their fault, folks! This is a free, capitalist society so the fault is yours because YOU WATCH IT!

And the list goes on . . . including more materialism, consumption, lack of commitment &r purpose, etc.

So I've had my say. Now you can grab a beer, find the clicker, plunk your fat ass on the couch and begin to stuff your face . . . while YOUR personal case of diabetes sets in! .
+8 # sanfrass 2011-11-29 10:15
I actually agree with point 3.
+5 # jimking 2011-11-29 01:46
Did Joseph Heller compose the "Telecommunicat ions Deregulation Act" ?
+18 # Skwirl 2011-11-29 01:52
Dan, your hypocrisy amazes me. Yes, you were of that age of transition when journalism began its sickening slide from burning truthful and informative news to the glittery, stupid tripe the MSM junkies are sucking today. You helped sell that flame out sir. Now shame on you for bemoaning its loss as though you cared. You have done your job to sell every war, every rigged election, every crooked administration since Viet Nam and you did it because you could. You were connected to the old order of venerable news elders. The men who, simply by being associated with them, gave you the depth and validity that convinced the American public to take your words to heart and trust you. But you sold them out Dan. You let the real stories get swept under the table time and again and you did their bidding when it was time to spin the party's broken record. Con't.
+10 # Glen 2011-11-29 10:15
Thank you, Skwirl. I was going to write something rather scathing about Dan Rather, even Walter Cronkite, but it has been done. More than once, in impromptu interviews, Cronkite admitted to being a part of the elite class and told the interviewer it is better to be there than elsewhere in the class thing. Paraphrased. The class and government agenda has been with us quite some time, especially since Vietnam and the exposure of military and government sins.

These institutionaliz ed network "journalists" are part of the millionaire system and cannot be trusted.
+20 # Skwirl 2011-11-29 01:53
#2...Your interview with Saddam Hussein just before the war was your masterpiece though. Bravo! You tried so hard to calmly make him look like the devil. Did you know that he beat you? He made you the fool instead as you sat there in his house and you practically told him to his face that he was a dead man. He actually took it well though, considering. But by then it didn't matter. It was already a done deal. You had already helped to set the war up by your refusal to do your job.
Your job...get to the truth and then show it. Simple but elegant. That's real journalism.
You know what it looks like Dan. Remember? You might have been the last one to see it alive.
0 # stonecutter 2011-11-29 04:24
Dan, old buddy, it's too late. It's like you're seriously advocating ocean-going sailing ships as freighters, to save fuel and be a "green" replacement for the modern merchant fleet. A whimsical nod to a simpler, more "pristine" era, when citizens were a lot dumber than they are now (brother, that's pretty damn dumb), the illusion of honesty and dauntless courage in the media held sway (Sorry, Murrow's time had its own brand of sycophancy and secrecy and press corruption, just better hidden from a gullible, simple-minded public--same as today's public--and all the cyber-flash and cheesy, melodramatic "muzak" in the fore- and background of most TV "news" programs was yet to come, let alone the national army of local TV news automatons, and the dwarf automaton Wolf Blitzer spitting his histrionic platitudes and tabloid "revelations" at the camera with that patented deer-in-the-hea dlights stare of his--"YOU'RE IN THE SITUATION ROOM!!", or ANYONE on FOX Noise...enough said).

TV news regaining the trust and respect of the public would be like climbing Everest in your undershorts, without oxygen. Theoretically possible, but unlikely. Even Rachel Maddow, who is clearly intelligent, has a voice that mimics fingernails on a blackboard, and the hyped delivery of a Meth addict. Unwatchable.

Where's Cronkite or Chancellor or Jennings when you need 'em? Oh, dead.
+34 # 666 2011-11-29 06:21
FCC rule changes against media mergers were eliminated by Raygun in the early 80s... The GOP (George Orwell Party) nearly created a corporate "ministry of truth" by 2000 (as Redjelly39 notes), but along came widespread Internet availability (90s) & ever faster connections & messed it all up. Why does Rather make no comment about govt efforts to crush net-neutrality?
It's not just the news media, it's their whole interlinked conglomerate: so-called "news" that does little more than promote the company's other products (disney comes to mind but all are guilty). The news itself is a "product" tailor-made to construct target audiences.
Rather exhorts today's media to grow some balls, but it will take more than that. For the media ever to be effective again, we must "bust the trusts" of big media & insure web neutrality. Go back to strict rules limiting media outlet ownership.

At the risk of sounding xenophobic, I'd also say no primarily foreign corporation or individual can own more than 10% of any one US media outlet, nor have ownership in more than 5 outlets & then only if they have no common market/audience.

Finally, we must hold the media accountable. Fox & others are as guilty of war crimes as are the Bush-Cheney-Oba ma gangs.
+20 # mwd870 2011-11-29 06:23
"It was a different time in journalism. A time when professional duty was patriotic, and the freedom of the press motivated and inspired newsrooms."

This is a perfect analogy for what has happened to politics and Wall Street and just about everything that has gone wrong in this country in the last decades.
+26 # walt 2011-11-29 06:59
Dan hits on the most significant change we are seeing, namely that Americans are "afraid." Yes, the people are actually afraid of the government that has empowered its military and police to behave ruthlessly. The recent pepper-spraying s are a good example of such self-justification.
Until the people stand up and demand that government work for them as intended, we will continue to suffer the consequences.
We cannot remain afraid and silent. It's all about being people and not "sheep."
+26 # cvm79 2011-11-29 07:11
Do you rememeber what the Big Story was on 9/10/01? It was Gary Condit and Chandra Levy. Don't get me wrong having an affair with your friends daughter is wrong but the media had all but convicted Condit of her murder. It turned out a few years later that someone else did it. OOPS!

During the run-up to the war in Iraq the mainstream media sold its soul for embedded reporters. Anyone who spoke out against the war was labeled by the media as an unpatriotic traitor. It didn't come out against the war until it was more pofitable to cover people like Cindy Sheehan.

Now that most of the tents have been torn down it seems to have little use for Occupy Wall Street. They keep an eye out just in case therre is an opportunity for some violence.
+41 # Hardy 2011-11-29 07:42
Publicly funding all elections is a good first step.
+5 # Cliffard 2011-11-29 09:01
yes, maybe instead of American Idol, we have American "President". Every week a debate, one gets voted off until the new pres is chosen. We would need Simon though, wait, maybe we could just make him president.
+5 # shjlaw 2011-11-29 10:00
Right on, Hardy, and a giant leap for America!
+6 # boudreaux 2011-11-29 08:22
I myself will never get used to it...
+15 # fredboy 2011-11-29 09:11
Yes, we went from hardball reporting in the 60s, 70s, and 80s--I know, because I was an investigative reporter at the time and took heat from no one--to today's "news". Newspapers are but floor diapers to train new pups, and TV network "news" is eight minutes of Washington and campaign press releases and seven minutes of lollypop feel good softballs.

Shutter the J-schools, bulldoze them, and start over.
+15 # slimslider 2011-11-29 09:17
It's amazing and somewhat sickening that the only news organizations I trust anymore are the BBC and a few under-funded independents. Did the majors create a sick journalism culture because of the weaker angels in human nature, or did those angels become corrupted because of ever increasing sensationalism? Regardless, people believe what they want to believe, and there are always those who will supply the lies to corroborate those wants.
+11 # k8carroll 2011-11-29 09:26
My Dear Mr. Rather. I have fond memories of the days when the evening news was respected and trusted. Walter Cronkite and you were part of that proud tradition. I pray these news personalities will heed your words and commit themselves to higher journalistic standards, but fear they are just too damned comfortable to be bothered. You are so right, we needs good journalism and true newscasting to save our democracy. Thank you for your wisdom and patriotism. Could the news be broadcast in the manner you describe? Yes. So, my Christmas wish for the United States is that some respected, retired journalists find a way to create their own broadcast, free from the fetters and chains of corporate money and influence. Raise the standard, raise the light so all can see. As part of the public, I will continue to demand real journalism and real news.

Congratulations on your well-deserved award. How we miss you as a news journalist!
+7 # mjc 2011-11-29 09:29
Not all of Fox or CNN "news" is just slanted opinion but much of it is. The so-called "news" programs first thing in the morning are just one or two headlines and a lot of gossip column kind of information. It used to be that one could get a good handle on something like the uprisig in Egypt or protests in Iran but not today. One-liner are the mode in the morning.
+7 # k8carroll 2011-11-29 09:32
+14 # bugbuster 2011-11-29 11:21
I think that Mr. Rather has some catching up to do. He is living in the past.

The American press has been irrelevant for some time now. Some serious news is available on radio from NPR, but there is a lot of fluff and US-centered navel-gazing there.

BBC is the only serious world journalism available on radio. The rest is Internet, and there you have to sort through a lot of ax-grinding to find anything useful.

Pacifica Radio is alone in presenting a leftist perspective.
+12 # jwb110 2011-11-29 13:39
In the US, like the old USSR, there is no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda.
"No truth in News and no News in Truth."
+4 # Anarchist 23 2011-11-29 13:58
Love the synchronicity of giving Dan the award on 11/22/11-especi ally as Dan was part of the giant mis-reporting of the JFK Assassination of 63. Reporters on the press bus heard the sequence of shots-'bang...b ang,bang' the second two following immediately upon each other-which cannot be done with a bolt-action rifle-esp. a Mannlicher-Carc anno-they should have stuck with the Mauser as originally reported! And from that-Viet Nam and all the rest-the 'lone gunmen assassinations' of '68-such symmetry-esp. for those of us who remember watching the pilot program of 'The Lone Gunmen' back in April 2001 broadcast on Fox about hijacking an airliner to hit the WTC! the best that can be said of Dan Rather-'Dan the Dim'
+9 # okie_mule 2011-11-29 14:37
When Dan rather mentioned Edward R. Murrow, he talked about one of the best ever in the newsroom. We recently lost another giant when Bill Moyers retired. Sitting around and pissing and moaning about how bad the current state of jounalism, especially investigative journalism, is, we are part of the problem. The best, and worst, sources of news and information are on the internet. Other than that, it is Democracy Now; t.v. news is a wasteland. I do a show I call Bob Marley's Ghost on a low power FM station. I analyze and comment on news and information I read from a variety of sources. Many commuity LPFM stations are instrumental in reporting local news. We must protect the independence of both the internet and LPFM stations and we must do a better job of informing people of what is there.
+8 # Mardi Gras 2011-11-30 05:40
Bill Moyers is going to return to TV.
+31 # leslie griffith 2011-11-29 15:34
My goodness some of you are ruthless.

Of course Mr. Rather was once "corporate," how do you think he has become the man he is today.? This is how we learn.

I attended the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication in Washington DC recently. Mr. Rather was one of only two white people who spoke. why?

According to a young man at the National Archives...whil e looking for footage of Dr. King and some of the horrible events against African Americans, only Mr. Rather's reports consistently reported on them. Other networks often ignored what was happening in the south. Mr. Rather did not. He was brave then, as he is now.

And, he is still reporting. "Dan Rather reports" on HDNet was one of the few programs that did not minimize and mock "Occupy Wall Street" participants.

Let's stop throwing stones at those speaking matter how they learned it. Come on "progressives" ...let's progress past pettiness.

Must we always wait until someone is dead in this country before we look at the whole of their accomplishments?

And, who cares who reported what first? This is ridiculously childish considering the state of national dysfunction. My goodness some of you are ruthless.
+9 # leslie griffith 2011-11-29 15:35
Of course Mr. Rather was once "corporate," how do you think he has become the man he is today.? This is how we learn.

I attended the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication in Washington DC recently. Mr. Rather was one of only two white people who spoke. why?

According to a young man at the National Archives...whil e looking for footage of Dr. King and some of the horrible events against African Americans, only Mr. Rather's reports consistently reported on them. Other networks often ignored what was happening in the south. Mr. Rather did not. He was brave then, as he is now.

And, he is still reporting. "Dan Rather reports" on HDNet was one of the few programs that did not minimize and mock "Occupy Wall Street" participants.

Let's stop throwing stones at those speaking matter how they learned it. Come on "progressives" ...let's progress past pettiness.

Must we always wait until someone is dead in this country before we look at the whole of their accomplishments?

And, who cares who reported what first? This is ridiculously childish considering the state of national dysfunction.
+1 # anarchteacher 2011-11-29 18:14
Liberals point to the ‘glory days’ of CBS News against Senator Joe McCarthy (as portrayed in Good Night and Good Luck) as the heroic case of the mainstream news media working against state power. It was precisely the opposite. The destruction of McCarthy and his populist crusade against the governing elites was a triumph of the most powerful forces of the National Security State.

Clooney's film does not delve into McCarthy's preliminary investigation of CIA covert activities. CBS chairman William Paley, Fred Friendly, and Edward R. Murrow were part of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird to provide deflection and cover for the CIA's 'family jewels' of the day. CBS News president Sig Mickelson (1954-61) was liaison to the CIA. He even had a direct private phone line installed to the CIA. Read chapter 10, 'Things Fall Apart: Journalists,' in Hugh Wilford's book, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How The CIA Played America, for background on these crucial events. See also the online Rolling Stone article, 'The CIA and the Media,' by former Washington Post investigative journalist Carl Bernstein.

There’s much more to McCarthy,CBS, the CIA, and 1950's America than found in a Hollywood film treatment or presented by ‘court historians.’ As with much other establishment history, Americans have been lied to and bamboozled yet again.
-6 # anarchteacher 2011-11-29 20:20
One of the first observers to rip apart this “court history” was John Birch Society founder Robert Welch in his biographical treatment of Dwight Eisenhower, The Politician.

Concerning Dwight Eisenhower's CIA director Allen Welch Dulles, Robert Welch (no relation) observed:

“Allen Dulles is the most protected and untouchable supporter of Communism, next to Eisenhower himself, in Washington.

“When Senator McCarthy, at the height of his popularity with the American people, began casting even random glances at the CIA, his days were immediately numbered. . . Eisenhower was able instead to turn the power of the U. S. Senate onto the destruction of McCarthy. And Allen Dulles still goes his slippery way.”

All the way, we might add, to the Warren Commission's cover-up to the November 22, 1963 coup d'etat undertaken by elements within the national security establishment.
+7 # anarchteacher 2011-11-29 18:15
CIA director Allen Dulles, CBS chairman William Paley, and CBS board director Senator Prescott Bush were intimate associates of the northeastern seaboard establishment found in Washington and New York during the early Cold War. Whether in their private clubs, at the Harold Pratt House of the Council on Foreign Relations, or in Wall Street corporate and bank board rooms, these old birds of a feather flocked, schemed, and conspired together.
+6 # anarchteacher 2011-11-29 20:02
From the crucial time before the American government's formal entrance into World War II, establishment elites have fostered an ongoing series of elaborate intelligence operations based on psychological warfare and propaganda aimed at manipulating public opinion and attitudes in regards to the projection of American state power and interventionism .(See Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44).

These operations, both covert and overt, have been one of the central props of the national security state since its inception in 1947.

It was out of these CIA-funded disinformation campaigns which emerged the key ideological voices of the mainstream media and its adjuncts in academia, whether marching under the unfurled banners of social democracy, liberalism, conservatism, or neoconservatism .

For the past seven decades, "responsible public policy debate" has been confined to the narrow perimeters set by these establishment-s anctioned gate-keepers and mouthpieces.
+13 # Steve5551 2011-11-29 18:16
I always held Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather with high esteem. But in the context of renewed study of the JFK assasination, the assasination of MLK and Bobby, the Vietnam War, LbJ and Nixon's exploits I feel deeply that even they were controlled by the Network News mechanism (big money). It's a certain as your hand before your face that "we the people" were lied to about the big stories of that era. I just saw the interview with Cronkite on the JFK assasination where he flatly refused to accept the obvious-IT WAS A HORRIBLE CONSPIRACY. The Conspirators/be nefactors of Kennedy's murder and their decendents went on to prominent positions in United States politics. It was the biggest conspiracy in US history to that point and marks the beginning of the demise of The United States of America. Of course that conspiracy is now eclipsed by September 11, 2001. And the fact is, like in Kennedy's assasination, the benefactors/con spirators walked away scottfree because the "trusted" media is a co-conspirator with corrupt politicians. And the big names in the news networks cling to their salaries, positions and titles and refuse to call the big stories what they are-TREASON against the people of the United States.
+13 # Vardoz 2011-11-29 20:39
To me everything that is happening on the news, in our govt is to manipulate us, the people, as we are being robbed and crushed in everyway they can. I feel like they want to distract us as they make us pay in every way, as they destroy our rights, our economy, our entitlements, our envronment and any chance of prosperity. It is a devastating and horrible reality for us the 99%. We could have such a great nation if there was any interest at all in making things work. But we are now left to decide what to do next. It is a frightening and dangerous time.
+5 # berneredfeather 2011-11-30 00:03
I miss Bill Moyers and the kind of honest investigations that he was doing every Friday night (in Canada) on his show. Some were economists trying to break the Milton Friedman mold. Some were union representatives . Some were good investigative journalists like Amy Goodman. His show had credibility. I know Bill had problems with American Journalism watchdogs. Amy Goodman has had her struggles to report the news at different peaceful demonstrations. In Canada "our news" is filled with American propaganda and presented in a constant array of flashing bits, bites, and ads on the screen so
that one hardly knows what they are looking at and any meaningful information is non-existent or lost. Our journalists spend more time traveling in the U.S. than in Canada. I think also that a great deal of News? comes from the wire services and is definitely massaged by some entity to minimize fact and optimize bias. A great book, 'What Orwell Didn't know', edited by Andras Szanto, is collection of essays. One essay talks of conflating facts and opinions, "The writer gives a reasonably factual account and then introduces an opinion as if it were fact. Someone who disagrees with this opinion can then be accused of deliberately and knowingly falsifying facts." The common voter has no hope deciphering this type presentation to make an informed decision. Only a rebellion will change this.
+7 # Mardi Gras 2011-11-30 05:56
What we need is not just better journalism. We need to 'OCCUPY Journalism' and have the grassroots 99% providing "the news".
+2 # universityhi 2011-11-30 06:59
The economic model that Rather blames on the passing of good journalism is simply not true. Newspapers were making a killing when they had investigative journalists. Up until recently, that is after all the deregulation, newspapers were making around 15% (fifteen per cent) on their capitalization. This is a really good return. No, these things, news and news gathering and investigative entities, were taken down; they were intentionally dismantled to bring us the Pravda like model that we have today. It is said that the Soviets developed a knack for reading the ironically named Pravda. Sometimes, for a lark, look for planted stories in the News.
+6 # Glen 2011-11-30 08:07
Have you also noticed there is no longer journalistic investigations of corporations, as there used to be? As has been stated, what we have now is mostly gossip, with flickers of reporting.
+3 # wleming 2011-11-30 11:04
paley and cbs made rather a millionaire...
glad hes finally off his knees
hes tellin it like it is
but hes late in takin on the media freeze
it wasn't until they cut him off at the knees
that he got off his
that story he did on bush was the truth
and the network took it as excuse to trash him
-2 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-30 11:38
What was once a Career of Honor is nothing but a System of cutting throats to get to top, ratings god, ego needs.
If anyone actually would report, there would be a better intelligence in the USA.
I cannot speak for other Countries but have seen glimpes of people who are again more interested in what they have on, ratings than a story. That is what is taught obviously in School...get the job and crawl, jump do anything to get into the seat of the anchor.

I had lots of respect until the 60's seeing the broadcast network slant, it just got worse over the years. Not worth the dime, obviously Newspapers are feeling that crunch...too bad they do not understand why or want tol
+1 # Pickwicky 2011-11-30 15:52
An aside about 'celebrity news.' The other day while watching a preview of a Marilyn Monroe film, I listened aghast as the announcer said Marilyn Monroe was the "world's most celebrated woman." My initial response was: then the world isn't worth saving. ---Is that really what the world celebrates most in a woman? A bulge of bare breast, a butt wiggle, and an actor who repeats the words written by someone else? That's it? We've become so used to having people, such as actors and athletes, people of so little real achievement, thrust at us by the media, that we now believe they're Great Achievers? Heroes? Hell yes, man, they're CELEBRITIES.

One more phony lesson children learn.

Can't agree with you more, Dan.
-3 # perkinsej 2011-11-30 17:01
What is needed is for the very wealthy Democrats to pool their monies and purchase some of the nation's leading newspapers and TV stations and return to serious and reliable reporting. Even if they lose money, they will be doing valuable public service equal to most charitable activities.
+5 # Alithea50 2011-12-02 15:17
The funny thing about wisdom is most of us know when we have heard it. Wise words resonate. We just seem to "know" when we've heard it. The funny thing about gaining wisdom is that you don't gain it by having lived a perfect life, you gain from having introspected over a life wrought with mistakes both great and small and pulled the truth from the balance of it.

What I am reading here is that everyone agrees that much of what Dan Rather articulated in his speech resonated as truth. Then some, ironically bashed him for having the nerve and the audacity for haven spoken some truth "given his past (big/small) mistakes". Then go on to say, ironically and more than a little hypocritically that Fox News is full of pundits - of which they are emulating!

I am impressed and grateful to those who hold much esteem by peers and public (whether deserved or not)and use that esteem to offer some wisdom, if heeded, might actually make a damn difference.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." to offer a bit of Ghandi's wisdom.
+2 # Alithea50 2011-12-02 15:19
We have to turn off our minds to punditry and the polarized hate bashing propaganda machine and have to "catch ourselves" being the very thing we can't stand. Just as Rather was trying to do in his speech. We can't correct the very frightening wobble our country is in from becoming extremists. The GOP has gone to crazy talk and our President has gone pretty withdrawn and secretive so that no one really knows what his real agenda is. What I (and others) fervently wish to see is a 3rd candidate that would eclectic and embrace the better ideas of both extremes and fill them in (because face it all the candidates are nothing but sound bytes to appeal to the splintered factions with no substance gluing it all together into some realistic sustainable platform. Is there no one amongst us to step up and buck the system for a balanced platform? What gives me night terrors is the idea that Republicans will vote mindlessly with whatever candidate the Tea Party/GOP/Murdo ck/Koch Brothers Party favors or fearfully stick with a supposedly Democrat President whom seems to be a doppelganger of the man we voted for. Whom at least seems sane, yet becoming pretty misguided by his unknown handlers (oops advisers) and succumbing to a militant stance that Democrats find a little (or a lot) disconcerting. Are Independents becoming extinct?
+6 # llodge 2011-12-03 09:14
Stop watching TV, get a life, entertain yourselves, be involved with your surroundings, family and friends, stop being a spectator of life.
+3 # dtaylor404 2011-12-04 14:46
Step one for improving journalism: Always cite your sources. I shouldn't have had to hunt for this.

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