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November 23, 2004
Rather Resigned

CBS has announced Dan Rather's resignation from the anchor and managing editor positions for CBS Evening News. CBS calls it "retirement," even though in the same breath they announce that Rather will continue to work for 60 Minutes as an investigative reporter:

Dan Rather, embattled anchor of the "CBS Evening News," announced Tuesday that he will step down in March, on the 24th anniversary of taking over the job from Walter Cronkite.

The veteran anchor has been under fire in recent months for his role in a "60 Minutes Wednesday" story that questioned President Bush's service in the National Guard, which turned out to based on allegedly forged documents.

Rather, 73, said he will continue to work for CBS, as a correspondent for both editions of "60 Minutes."

Two years ago, this announcement would have been a blockbuster. By this point, the reaction will mostly focus on why CBS waited so long to make the announcement. Rather had long since squandered any semblance of credibility even before he "personally vouched" for the authenticity of forged documents that CBS used to smear President Bush. He leaves an incredibly damaged news organization in his wake, which won't recover until after his departure and that of Andrew Heyward, CBS News President.

CBS now has to find a fresh face to slap onto its tired and crumbling news division. It should also find some fresh faces for its management.

UPDATE: CBS has its own report on Rather's resignation, and it seems a bit strange for a retrospective on a presumably beloved figure in the news division:

The triumvirate of Rather, Brokaw and ABC's Peter Jennings has ruled network news for more than two decades. Rather dominated ratings after taking over for Cronkite during the 1980s, but he was eclipsed first by Jennings and then by Brokaw. His evening news broadcast generally runs a distant third in the ratings each week.

His hard news style was mixed with a folksy Texan style that led him to rattle off homespun phrases on Election Night. But odd incidents dogged him: In 1987 he walked off the set, leaving CBS with dead air, to protest a decision to let a tennis match delay the news.

I'm thinking that the news division may have delighted in the opportunity to point out a few of the emperor's flaws now that he's passing from the scene.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 23, 2004 12:12 PM

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» ABC News: Dan Rather to Leave 'CBS Evening News' from BitsBlog
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» Blogosphere Reaction To Rather's Departure from Powerpundit
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Tracked on November 24, 2004 1:08 AM

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