NBC Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon was roundly condemned by the Left for mussing Donald Trump’s hair for five seconds, and “normalizing” him for the American public. But they were quiet on Thursday night when Fallon spent a much longer time “normalizing” disgraced CBS anchorman Dan Rather, who defined “fake news” for a generation with his false Texas Air National Guard documents about George W. Bush.
Fallon began with the unctuous note that while the social media is a wilderness, you come across “An eloquent 500-word essay by Dan Rather, and I wanna say thank you for being the voice of reason on social media.” He then asked “Trump's relationship with the press. Have you seen anything like it in 60 years?"
"No, I haven't seen anything like it, and neither has anybody else," Rather responded. "We've never had anything even approaching this." He said Nixon was the closest, without recalling how Nixon asked Rather if he was running for anything. Fallon didn't seem to have any knowledge of Rather yelling at Vice President George H. W. Bush in 1988 over Iran-Contra: "You made us hypocrites in the eyes of the world!" Or of Rather (twice) kissing the ring of Saddam Hussein with "questions" like "Say something in English for us."
When asked to share his advice to the media covering Trump, Rather stressed: "Stay steady, stay respectful. But also, be relentless and remain aggressive. That's the proper role of the press. Our role is part of a system of checks and balances, to ask questions, to keep asking tough questions, to do deep digging, investigative reporting. That’s what we’re supposed to do. And I think the public, including the people who voted for Trump, by and large, understand that that’s a vital role. It doesn’t help when the president is so negative about the press."
Like many others, Rather misquoted a Trump aide: "Steve Bannon recently said, almost directly, 'the press needs to shut up.' Well, our answer to that has to be, 'With respect, sir, no, we're not going to shut up. Now answer the damn question.'" The full sentence was “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” They haven’t even listened through the entire sentence.
Rather said his solution to the current contretemps was “HUH: healing, unity, and hope.”
Fallon then said Rather had a “pretty brilliant” idea of creating a monument on the beach in Miami for “climate change deniers” that would apparently sink below sea level.
Without noting that Rather is so over the hill that he only interviews musicians now for AXS-TV, Fallon promoted his upcoming Valentine’s Day interview with Kid Rock. Rather said “The dude runs deep.”
The segment concluded with Fallon giving Rather the opportunity to read his January 27 Facebook post like an Eric Sevareid commentary for almost two minutes. He ended “Reporting from New York, Dan Rather. Courage.”