Dan Rather: CNN's 'Reliable Source'

November 22, 2019

Dan Rather, the former CBS Evening News host forced out in 2005 following one of the most infamous journalistic failures this century, is nevertheless a frequent guest on the CNN media show Reliable Sources.

With host Brian Stelter often introducing him as "legendary," Rather has had a consistent platform to peddle folksy, platitudinous takes on the news and journalism.

"It's becoming increasingly apparent that truth is closing in. Truth does matter," Rather recently told Stelter about impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Stelter often invokes the importance of truth and facts in his run-up to bringing on Rather, whose reputation was shattered for ignoring those things in the defining episode of his career.

Rather reported on documents in 2004 purporting to show George W. Bush had been derelict in his duties and gone absent without leave from the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s. The documents were almost immediately revealed to be forgeries. CBS and Rather initially stood by the report, but Rather was eventually forced to apologize, and the 60 Minutes producers of the segment were fired. Rather was forced out of the anchor chair in 2005.

However, Rather has long insisted his team was correct and reported the truth about Bush avoiding Vietnam service and shirking his responsibilities with the National Guard. He's even gotten assistance from Hollywood in what came to be known as "Rathergate."

A 2015 movie based on producer Mary Mapes's memoir of the affair, called Truth, starred Robert Redford as Rather, portraying him and Mapes as flawed but heroic in their journalistic pursuits. It was a box office flop and tepidly received by critics, some of whom panned it as didactic, simplistic, and one-sided. The Atlantic called it a "terrible, terrible movie about journalism."

Along with launching a show in 2018 on the far-left Young Turks YouTube channel, Rather is now known for his Resistance tweets, such as this one that's been "liked" more than 68,000 times.