Dan Rather : 'Somebody's got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive... with government interference in news'
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Former CBS anchor Dan Rather recently filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS, saying they made him a "scapegoat" when he was fired for a September 2004 story on 60 Minutes about President Bush's unsatisfactory service in the Texas Air National Guard.
When Rather appeared on Larry King's program Thursday, King began by showing him a 2005 clip of himself saying, "I'm not a victim of anything except my own shortcomings."
But he added, "Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news."
"I've learned a good deal since that time," said Rather. "It's reported that Sumner Redstone [president of Viacom] ... was described as being enraged that the news division, this story, had cost Viacom and CBS in Washington, and he wanted Dan Rather and everybody connected with it out."
"They sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain, and in so doing, I think they undermined a lot at CBS News," he said.
Rather said he still believes the 60 Minutes report was correct. "[CBS] sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain," he stated, "and in so doing I think they undermined a lot at CBS News."
"Nobody to this day has shown that these documents were fraudulent," continued Rather, referring to the disputed memos featured in the 60 Minutes story. "Nobody has proved that they were fraudulent, much less a forgery. ... The truth of this story stands up to this day." Rather added that he believed somebody with subpoena power could get to the bottom of the matter pretty quickly.
The following video is from CNN's Larry King Live, broadcast on September 20, 2007.