Dan Rather sues CBS for $70 million

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. Bush’s 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 News—a position he had held for nearly a quarter century—six months after the 60 Minutes II story aired.

As reported by CNN: “Rather’s 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 CNN’s 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 can’t have freedom of the press if you’re 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 don’t want to see.”

from the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2007, issue

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