Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dan Rather: ‘Straight With No Chaser’

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

Dan Rather gave a talk today at the Big Tent, and it was an impressive and genuinely important one. When the video is available I’ll put it up here so you can watch the entire thing.

Much of it was a critique of modern mainstream media, as well as the business of conventions. This in particular stood out for me:
I’m sure the broadcast and cable-news outlets will do a couple of short pieces here and there about how the real story of these conventions is the vast sums of money being raised at private parties all around town. But aside from, in most cases, simply mentioning this fact, they don’t follow up on just what that money is going to do to our political system now.

As one reporter, I think the best story here is who gives the big money to whom, expecting to get what. Now maybe the coverage does not for the most part center on this, because the larger news organizations — of which I was part for a long time, it’s important for you to understand that I do not except myself from the criticism inherent in some of the things I’m going to say today — it may be, in terms of the larger news organizations, that they don’t cover stories such as who gives the big money, to whom, expecting to get what, because after all they are part of the system. The money raised by the parties and the campaigns for advertising doesn’t go to charity.

And that’s why I’m glad to see all of you here today. Those of you in the new media are afforded a great opportunity to tell the story straight with no chaser. Because your bottom line is not tied to the status quo in ways you won’t see with those running the evening news. I hope you take advantage of the freedom this gives you to report news that is worthy of the name.

There is nothing more important, more vital, to the democratic process than an independent — a truly independent press.
 Dang, you’d think the guy was reading Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald or something.

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