Dan Rather, former CBS Evening News anchor, filed a $70 million breach of contract lawsuit against his former employer Sept. 19. The lawsuit alleged CBS made him the scapegoat when the network was criticized for a September 2004 60 Minutes II story that questioned President George W. Bushs service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
Rather, who narrated the piece, said he was forced to step down as anchor of the CBS Evening Newsa position he had held for nearly a quarter centurysix months after the 60 Minutes II story aired.
As reported by CNN: Rathers suit alleges that management at CBS and its then parent company, Viacom, shifted blame to him to pacify the White House and that on the day after Bush was re-elected, he was informed he would be removed as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
The suit maintains that inaccuracies in the National Guard report have never been established, but, even if there were errors, he was not responsible for them because he played largely a supervisory role in the production of the broadcast and was assured by others that the documents had been authenticated.
In a Sept. 20 interview on CNNs Larry King Live, Rather said: This is the right stand, at the right time, about the right issue. We have to, somehow, get back to integrity in the news and somehow at least alleviate, if not eliminate, these big corporations and big government pressures.
You cant have freedom of the press if youre going to have large, big corporations and big government intruding and intimidating in newsrooms, Rather added. The chilling effect on investigative reporting is going to be something we dont want to see.
from the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2007, issue