Tags: rather | cbs | jfk | assassination

Dan Rather: CBS 'Airbrushed' Me From History, 'Like Kremlin'

Image: Dan Rather: CBS 'Airbrushed' Me From History, 'Like Kremlin'

Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 03:30 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Disgruntled CBS News anchor Dan Rather is steamed about his former network's decision to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination without him.

"They are trying to airbrush me out of their history, like the Kremlin," he told a TV Newser columnist. "I had hoped that whatever animus was there, as time goes by, would fade, and maybe they would change their minds. What's next — I'm airbrushed out of Watergate coverage? Vietnam? Tiananmen Square? 9/11? Where does this lead?"

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Rather and CBS famously parted ways in 2006 after 44 years, 24 of those with Rather in the anchor's chair, after he aired a segment on "60 Minutes II" alleging that family connections kept then-President George W. Bush from seeing combat in Vietnam.

Rather's report relied on falsified documents supplied by a retired Texas National Guard official who had been a vocal Bush critic. Rather later sued the network for $70 million, accusing its top brass of using the scandal to force him from his position. In 2009, a New York State appeals court tossed the suit.

Huffington Post reports that CBS will air footage that includes Rather — he was a young reporter instrumental in CBS' coverage when Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas in 1963 — but snubbed him by not extending an invitation for Rather to appear in the network special.

The 82-year-old told The Associated Press that he "held off doing anything for anybody else for a while, thinking I may be asked to do something [for CBS]." He instead will offer his insights on rival network NBC.

Rather, long criticized for having a liberal bias that he purportedly weaved into his reporting, is no stranger to controversy. In 1987, he angrily walked off the set just before a remote "Evening News" broadcast from Miami. Rather was upset about a U.S. Open tennis match bleeding into the newscast. And he engaged in a heated exchange with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush over the Iran-Contra affair.

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He has also been part of some bizarre encounters, including getting sucker-punched in the stomach during the 1968 Democratic National Convention and being taken on a wild goose chase in 1980 by a Chicago cab driver as Rather screamed out the window for help.

In 1986, Rather got mugged in Manhattan as the attacker repeatedly yelled: "Kenneth, what is the frequency?" The phrase became part of the American vernacular used to describe a confused person. Rock group R.E.M. later released a song titled "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"

Rather now works with AXS TV, a high-definition cable TV station.

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