Dan Rather

  • Aired:  05/30/12
  •  | Views: 10,069

Dan Rather discusses his childhood growing up along the Texas coast, a perceived lack of journalistic guts, and the notion of liberal bias in broadcast news. (7:09)

>> Jon: MY GUEST, YOU CAN SEE HIM EVERY WEEK ON "DAN RATHER REPORTS."

HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED "RATHER OUTSPOKEN." PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE

PROGRAM, DAN RATHER.

( APPLAUSE ) ( CHEERS )

>> Jon: HOW ARE YOU?

NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> NICE TO SEE YOU.

I DIDN'T REALIZE YOU HAD BECOME THE DONALD TRUMP REELECTIONgh HEADQUARTERS.

>> Jon: CAN I TELL YOU SOMETHING?

WHAT A JOY.is WHAT A GIFT THAT WOULD BE.

IMAGINE WHAT HE WOULD DO JUST DECORATING-WISE TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

JUST TRUMP WHITE HOUSE AND CASINO.

JUST THINK ABOUT IT.

( LAUGHTER ).

THE BOOK IS CALLED "RATHERal OUTSPOKEN." THIS IS-- YOU KNOW, IT COVERS

YOUR WHOLE-- I DID NOT REALIZE-- YOU KNOW, THERE'S BEAUTIFULie PICTURES IN HERE OF YOU.

YOU SORT OF GREW UP IN THE OLD WEST.

I HAD-- I DID NOT REALIZE THAT THAT WAS YOUR BACKGROUND.

>> WELL I, GRIE UP ON THE TEXAS COAST.

WHEN I GREW UP THERE, IT WASd PRETTY MUCH THE OLD WEST.

THAT'S TRUE.

>> Jon: GREAT PICTURES OF YOU AND YOUR MOM STANDING IN FRONT OF THIS OLD 1930s

AUTOMOBILE ON THE PLANES AND PICTURES OF YOU IN SECOND GRADE AND THIRD GRATE.

DO YOU RECALL THAT LIFE, LIKE "LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE" ORcr

WAS IT, LIKE, WHEN YOU WERE A KID, WAS IT A DRAG?

LIKE WHAT--

>> NO, NO.

I HAD A TERRIFIC CHILDHOOD.

I KNOW THAT CAN BE BORING.

YOU HAD RHEUMATIC FEVER BETWEEN 10 AND 11 FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS AND I WAS BEDRIDDEN.r

THAT I REMEMBER MOST VIVIDLY.

BECAUSE I WAS BEDRIDDEN.

I HAD TO STAY STILL IN BED.

IT WAS AN INCURABLE DISEASE AT THE TIME.

BUT BEFORE THAT, AND AFTER THAT I HAD A WONDERFUL CHILDHOOD.

BOTH MY PARENTS WORKED, VERY HARD WORKING PEOPLE, AND THEY INSISTED -- AND WE WERE WILLING,

MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND-- WORKED EARLY.

>> Jon: HOW DID YOU BOUNCE BACK FROM RHEUMATIC FEVER AND SIX YEARS LATER BE IN THE.

MARINES.

THAT WAS A QUICK RECOVERY?

>> I DID RECOVER HAD I GOT TO BE ABOUT 14.

MY FATHER WAS SMART ENOUGH TO SEND ME TO WORK ON PIPELINES AND OIL RIGS.

I GOT MY BODY BACK.

AND I WAS ELIMINATED FROM THE SERVICE.

I'M NOT PROUD ABOUT IT.

I LIED ABOUT IT AND JOINED THE MARINES.

I HAVE ONE OF THE SHORTEST AND CAREERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE MARINE CORPS.

>> Jon: THROUGH BRUSH CUTTING AND DRILLING.

>> YOUR NOSE IS GROWING.

>> Jon: YES, I KNOW.

IT IS GROWING.

YOU'VE WORKED AS A TV NEWSMAN FOR A LONG TIME, SO THIS MAY SEEM LIKE A STRANGE QUESTION--

HAS TELEVISION BEEN A BOON TO PEOPLE'S KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION ABOUT POLITICS OR HAS IT NOT?

WE WERE TALKING ABOUT EARLY ABOUT HOW TELEVISION CHANGED THE GAME.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: AT A CERTAIN POINT TSEEMED LIKE TELEVISION OUTSMARTED THE POLITICIANS.

HAS THAT REVERSED NOW?

>> I THINK IT HAS.

I THINK THE POLITICIANS HAVE OUTSMARTED TELEVISION.

OVERALL, I THINK TELEVISION HAS ADDED TO EVERYBODY'S KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ALMOST EVERYTHING, BUT

LIKE THE INTERNET, WHICH IS NOW DOMINANT IN NEWS OR SOON TO BE,

IT HAS ITS PLUSES AND MINUSES.

BUT EACH SUCCESSIVE PRESIDENCY,

FOR EXAMPLE, HAS GOTTEN SMARTER AND SMARTER ABOUT HOW TO MANIPULATE THE MEDIA, MANIPULATE

THE PRESS AND USE TELEVISION TOTS ADVANTAGE.

THERE IS ALSO THE TRIVIALIZATION OF THE NEWS.

YOU WANT TO CALL THE POLITICALIZATIONES OF NEWS WITH SOME NETWORKS BEING PARTISAN

POLITICAL PROPAGANDA.

>> Jon: REALLY?

I DON'T PUBLICLY FOLLOW THE 24-HOUR NEWS NETWORKS BUT I UNDERSTAND THEY'RE ALL ABOVE

ABOARD, AND I WOULDN'T-- DOES IT, FOR YOU-- THIS IDEA OF LIBERAL BIAS AND THE IDEA-- YOU

BE, IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, HAVEN'T MOST JOURNALISTS, HAVEN'T THEIR

POLITICS BEEN SOMEWHAT MORE LIBERAL?

>> NO, IT HASN'T BEEN MY CHEERNS.

>> Jon: IT HASN'T BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE.

>> IT HASN'T BEEN MY EXPERIENCE.

MOST JOURNALISTS I GREW UP.

MOST JOURNALISTS I WORKED WITH AND PRACTICED WITH WERE TRYING TO BE HONEST BROKERS OF INFORMATION.

WHAT SOMETIMES GOT YOU A REPUTATION OF LIBERAL,

JOURNALISTS FORM AN APPRENTICESHIP COVERING THE POLICE BEAT.

THE JOURNALISTS, THE BEST OF THEN, SEE A KEYNESIAN SIDE OF SOCIETY THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T SEE.

SO WHEN THEY TRY TO CALL ATTENTION TO THAT, PEOPLE WHO

DON'T LIKE IT, SAY, "OH, YOU'RE LIBERALS." IT HAS NOT BEEN MY EXPERIENCE.

I KNOW IT'S WIDELY BELIEVED THAT CBS, NBC, ABCS, CHOCK FULL OF LIBERALS.

NOT TRUE.

WHAT IT'S CHOCK FULL OF IS PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO GIVE HONEST NEWS, STRAIGHTFORWARD NEWS, AND

VOTED BOTH WAYS IN MANY ELECTIONS.

I'M NOT SAYING THAT NOBODY IN THE NEWSROOM WAS LIBERAL ANY MORE THAN I WOULD SAY NOBODY WAS CONSERVATIVE.

PEOPLE DESCRIBED AS CONSERVATIVES WANT TO SAY, "I WORK AT CBS NEWS, AND ALMOST

EVERY THERE WAS LIBERAL." WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS NOT EVERYBODY THERE AGREED WITH HIM

ALL THE TIME.

THIS IS A SHAM.

IT'S A CAMOUFLAGE --

>> IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN VERY EFFECTIVE, THAT WORKING THE REPS.

THAT'S WHAT I WOULD SAY.

IT'S REALLY WORKED.

PEOPLE ARE NOW VERY AFRAID TO APPEAR IN ANY WAY AS THOUGH THEY'RE TAKING A POSITION ON ANYTHING.

>> WELL, THAT'S TRUE.

AND THAT'S WHY I SAY JOURNALISM,

AMERICAN JOURNALISM THERE SOME WAYS THAT HAZ LOST ITS GUTS,

NEEDS A SPINE TRANSLATE.

I MADE MY MISTAKES ALONG THIS LINE.

THERE IS A PRICE PAY-- IF YOU STAND UP AND ASK A REALLY TOUGH QUESTION NOW AND CHALLENGE, SAY

A PRESIDENT OR VICE PRESIDENT,

YOU KNOW THERE'S GOING TO BE A PRICE TO BE PAID FOR THAT.

SO OFTEN, YOU KNOW WHAT, I'LL GET IN THE MIDDLE, I HAVE POWS PAYMENTES --

>> Jon: BACK IN THE DAY,

JACK ANDERSON, NIXON TRIED TO POISON HIM OR HAD A PLAN TO POISON HIM.

>> A MORE RECENT BOOK INDICATES THE PRESIDENT HAD PLANS TO KILL

HIM AT ONE TIME IT GOT THAT BAD,

NOT MADE UP, THESE ARE FACTS ABOUT WHICH PEOPLE WANT TO HAVE AMNESIA.

COVERING THE CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGN, COVERING WATERGATE,

COVERING THE VIETNAM WAR,

FREQUENTLY WHAT HAPPENS, THOSE IN POWER, WHETHER THEY BE REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT,

CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL, WANT TO SAY EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THINGS DOWN SOUTH ARE NOT THAT BAD THEY WOULD SAY IN 1961 AND '62.

WE LEARNED NOW THAT THUNG WERE EVER BIT AS BAD AS THEY WERE CONVEYED ON TELEVISION.

NOW IT'S THE ACCEPTED WISDOM.

THIS HAPPENS TIME AFTER TIME BECAUSE WE HAVE AMNESIA ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE UNPLEASANT.

>> Jon: IT'S AS THOUGH POWER CORRUPTS.

>> THERE'S EYE BULLETIN.

>> Jon: HERE'S WHY YOU HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK FOR NO REASON IT HAS THE BEST DAN

RATHER-ISM IN IT.

YOU DESCRIBE SOMETHING AS A NIT ON A NAT'S NUT.

( LAUGHTER ) AND WHEN I READ THAT, I WAS JUST LIKE, "I GOTTA BUY TWO OF THESE.

( LAUGHTER ) "OF "RATHER OUTSPOKEN "IS ON

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