Dan Rather Backs 'Outstanding' NYT Journos on McCain Hit Piece

If you're the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg or Bill Keller the last person you probably want in your corner is Dan "National Guard Forgery Story" Rather. Yet on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," Rather jumped to their defense, on last week's McCain hit piece, by declaring them "outstanding journalists."

Now Rather did hedge a bit saying if the story wasn't true they could be "in a heap of trouble," but he concluded, that in the end, their reporting should be trusted because they were: "Very responsible journalists."

When Chris Matthews asked the former "CBS Evening News" anchor for his opinion on the Times story, Rather offered the following take on the February 24, edition of "The Chris Matthews Show:"

DAN RATHER: We've said McCain has a good record. We've all said, listen he's a good man with a good record. Jim Rutenberg, who was the lead reporter on this, Bill Keller who's the editor who made the decision, these are not ordinary journalists. These are outstanding journalists and that probably needs to be said. Now if they can't back it up any further than they have it, they're in a heap of trouble. But, on the record, it deserves to be said these are very responsible journalists.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: And oftentimes journalists know things they don't report and that knowledge guides their reporting.

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NBC New York Times The Chris Matthews Show