No Position to Judge: Dan Rather Scolds Jon Stewart for Endangering Truth

June 21st, 2021 2:55 PM

Some journalists really have no sense of irony. Dan Rather is one of them. The disgraced former CBS Evening News host, who lost his anchoring slot after using faulty documents in a botched hit on then-President George W. Bush in 2004, is angry at Jon Stewart for his very public rant that. Stewart simply noted that, of course, Covid could have come from a lab leak in Wuhan. 

Writing on Steady, Rather trashed the former Daily Show host: 

I cannot overemphasize how dangerous this line of thinking is. It is true that some scientists have done some bad things in the name of research — such as the Tuskegee experiments. Scientists have been wrong. Science and technology have been tools that supported colonialism and oppression. Science does not release us from our moral responsibilities. All of this is the case because science is a human endeavor and scientists are human, subject to the same frailties and base instincts as any member of our species. But science is also a way of thinking, where we challenge our own dogmas and beliefs, where we change our minds and approach when the data show we were wrong. 

Rather conceded, “Furthermore, it seems that most virologists do not think that the virus has the chemical fingerprints of human engineering. But that could be perhaps a possibility. We just don’t know. And we need to try to find out, letting the facts lead wherever they may.” 

But the disgraced ex-anchor attacked Stewart for “playing into the trope of the mad scientist at a time when we need science more than ever to solve our more pressing problems.” 

As noted by The Wrap, Rather accused the comedian of contributing to a GOP state of "unreasoning" when it comes to science. 

And I fear this reasoning – or should I say ‘unreasoning’ — has not only consumed the modern Republican party but is in danger of consuming an even broader swath of the American and global public.

On the June 14 Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Stewart mocked those who wouldn’t even consider that China had something to do with the Covid virus: 

There's a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China! What do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan Novel Respiratory Coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab. That's just -- that's just a little too weird, don't you think? And then the actual scientists are, like, how did this – “So, wait a minute, you work at the Wuhan respiratory coronavirus lab, how did this happen? They're like, “Oooh, a pangolin kissed a turtle?” No! The name of the lab! Look at the name! Let me see your business card! Show me your business card! “Oh, I work at the coronavirus lab in Wuhan!” “Oh! Because there's a coronavirus loose in Wuhan. How did that happen?” Maybe a bat flew into the throat a turkey and sneezed into my chili and now we all have coronavirus.”

When it comes to truth and honesty in the public discourse, Dan Rather isn't really in the best position to judge.