Tags: Expert: | Dan | Rather | Exaggerates | Military | Record

Expert: Dan Rather Exaggerates Military Record

Tuesday, 15 January 2002 12:00 AM

The researcher, B.G. Burkett, says that Rather’s inaccaurate statements about his military service can be found in the new hit book "

Burkett, co-author of the book "

Case in point are Rather’s claims in "Bias.” Goldberg's book details a confrontation he had with Rather over the anchorman's compulsive liberal bias.

Goldberg recounts that when he told the network star in 1996 of his upcoming Wall Street Journal op-ed piece citing a specific CBS News report as an example of left-wing bias, Rather replied he was "getting viscerally angry about this.”

"Angry I was expecting,” Goldberg tell his readers. "What came next, I wasn’t.

"Rather’s voice started quivering, and he told me how in his young days, he had signed up with the Marines – not once, but twice!”

This is not the first time Rather has hid behind the flag and his own military service claims to deflect criticism of his reporting, Burkett said.

Burkett added that Rather is greatly exaggerating his record. First, Burkett says, Rather "misspoke” when he claimed he signed up for the Marines twice. He didn’t.

And Burkett is flabbergasted that Rather continues to proudly describe himself as a "Marine.”

"What he did, he signed up for the military twice, not the Marines,” Burkett said after thoroughly reviewing Rather’s military records.

But Burkett notes that Rather "never got through Marine recruit training because he couldn’t do the physical activity.”

As Burkett explains in "Stolen Valor," Rather "was discharged less than four months later on May 11, 1954 for being medically unfit.” As a boy, Rather had suffered from rheumatic fever.

"This is like a guy who flunks out of Harvard running around saying he went to Harvard,” Burkett said.

Burkett also believes that, far from being a gung-ho military enlistee, Rather’s record shows he deftly avoiding entering the military during the Korean War.

Burkett says that Rather was a student at Sam Houston University at a time during the Korean War when "you could be drafted right out of college,” with deferments available only short term, for a semester.

"The way he got around being eligible for the draft was he joined a reserve unit – Army reserve but not the Marines.” Rather stayed in the reserve for the entire war.

"The second the Korean War was over, and he wasn’t in jeopardy anymore, he dropped out of the Army Reserve. He later graduated from college, and then went into the Marine Corps. So he signed up for the Marine Corps once,” Burkett said, not twice.

Rather knows he is skirting the truth about his record, Burkett believes. "He’s made such a big deal out of this ‘I’m a Marine’ thing. I mean, to a real Marine, you’re not a Marine – I mean even though you swore an oath and you’re technically on the payroll, you’re not a real Marine until you get out of basic training. And he never got out of recruit training.”

During Rather’s angry confrontation with Goldberg, the author of "Bias” says that "to his credit,” the anchorman emphasized that his Marine service was during "peacetime” so that "he was trying not to sound like some kind of war hero.”

Still, Rather never disclosed that his Marine service never got him past basic training.

Meanwhile, Burkett is miffed that Rather led media criticism of former Vice President Dan Quayle’s military record during his White House campaign.

"This is the same national broadcaster who, night after night during the 1988 presidential campaign, hammered Republican presidential candidate Dan Quayle for avoiding Vietnam by joining the National Guard,” he said.

"CBS was particularly heavy on Dan Quayle and his Guard experience. … It’s exactly the same thing Dan Rather did during the Korean War.

"If I had been in Rather’s position,” added Burkett, "I wouldn’t even have ever brought up the Marine Corps.”

Burkett has tracked Rather’s claims for years. In "Stolen Valor,” Burkett investigated a CBS TV documentary, "The Wall Within,” hosted by Rather.

The thrust of Rather’s report was that hordes of Vietnam veterans were dysfunctional, mentally disturbed or harbored guilt because their superiors had forced them to kill Vietnamese civilians.

Burkett did his own investigation and found that this was all hype. And while he was at it, he looked up Rather’s own military history. So determined was he that the story be put in perspective that Burkett ended up collaborating with ABC on a "counter documentary” on that network’s "20/20.”

This attempt to set the record straight won "20/20” a Cine Award, a significant honor within the industry.

"We attacked Rather’s documentary as being a bogus piece of work,” Burkett recalled to NewsMax.

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The researcher, B.G. Burkett, says that Rather's inaccaurate statements about his military service can be found in the new hit book Burkett, co-author of the book Case in point are Rather's claims in Bias." Goldberg's book details a confrontation he had with...
Tuesday, 15 January 2002 12:00 AM
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