Dan Rather Confesses 'A Lot of Flaws,' But Not on Rathergate

The forthcoming Rather-phony-documents movie – shamelessly titled Truth – is the latest occasion for Rather to claim (to The Hollywood Reporter) "We reported a true story....There wasn't any doubt then, and there is no doubt in any reasonable person's mind now, the story was true."

Rather does sound more like a wounded dog than usual after his two-hour interview on his "dramatic CBS exit" in disgrace. "I have a lot of flaws and a lot of vulnerabilities," he says at the end of the two-hour interview. "I've made a lot of mistakes. I have a lot of wounds, some of them self-inflicted, some of them still partially open. But I'm a fighter."

Robert Redford unspooled his political reasoning for playing Rather in the fictional movie about George W. Bush’s fictional Air National Guard records.

"This is another example to me of [the Bush] administration worried about what was going to be exposed about a reputation that had holes in it," explains Redford about why he wanted to play the news anchor. "And so they tried to discredit the journalist. And to me, that's a story about where the truth is. And that's a worthy story to go after."

Whose reputation had holes in it? Fired CBS producer Mary Mapes, who is played by Cate Blanchett in the movie, still salutes Rather’s loyalty:

"It is one of the most difficult things I've ever gone through in my life," says Mapes, who lives in Dallas and writes for policy groups and corporations and works as a ghostwriter. "But Dan never turned on me, he never blamed me, he never made me feel bad, he never made me feel like a failure. Of course, I did all that to myself, on some level. But Dan was incredibly loyal."

You can almost script Rather without interviewing him, especially when he gets misty about how “objective” CBS News has a great tradition of screwing with that Military-Industrial Complex:

"CBS," says Rather, his voice almost a whisper, "has a great history of backing its reporters, Ed Murrow with McCarthy, Cronkite with the Vietnam War, myself and others during Watergate. The movie has brought it back into focus. I have been and still am trying to be deep into humility and modesty, grateful for being able to make a living at this. I mean, CBS may have correspondents and anchors who are better at it than I've ever been. But they haven't had anybody who worked harder and cared more about the people and the place that CBS is — its history, its traditions — than I did. And still do."

Rather’s work in obscurity keeps getting more obscure. AXS canceled his Dan Rather Reports series, leaving him only with a show called The Big Interview where he interviews musicians for the music channel, like he's an MTV veejay. The Hollywood Reporter quoted AXS owner Mark Cuban to praise Rather to the skies for his news savvy, but he doesn’t pay for it any more.

This may be the most surprising passage in the piece on Rather:

[H]e says his 14-year-old grandson Andy is teaching him about rap; they recently saw Straight Outta Compton together. And while he appreciates the new beat, he admits "it's like landing on a planet in a distant universe."

Dan Rather
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