The panel couldn’t find a single expert who believed in the validity of the documents on which Rather’s story was based. Rather nonetheless declared victory: ”Although they had four months and millions of dollars, they could not demonstrate that the documents were not authentic,” he bragged during an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman last month. The New York Times’ motto is all the news that’s fit to print; Rather was suggesting that that CBS prefers the more flexible all the news that is not proven false beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Rather’s sad, shabby defense reminded me of The Amazing Criswell, a popular psychic of the 1950s whose predictions included Fidel Castro would be assassinated in 1970, New Mexico would be given back to the Indians in 1976, and the Atlantic Ocean would swallow most of Florida by 1979. Most infamously, he appeared at the end of a god-awful science-fiction flick about an alien takeover of the Earth called Plan 9 From Outer Space and demanded of the audience: ”Can you prove that it didn’t happen?” The final chapter of Dan Rather’s anchor career was to turn his network into the Criswell Broadcasting System.
Hugh Hewitt writes that he’s actually Ted Baxter:
Rather emerges in [Ken Auletta’s New Yorker piece]