Roger L. Simon

Will Rather Be the Next OJ?

I woke up with that thought this morning — and it actually put a smile on my face. I mean Dan, like the Juice, is just not the kind of person to admit that he did it. But we all know he did. So, like OJ, he ends up this pathetic figure living out his life, gladhanding low-rent fans in golf course coffee shops.

[But Rather gets to keep a skadillion dollars and owns that golf course plus a dozen yachts.–ed. Okay, okay. It’s just one scenario.]

Meanwhile, the good-old MSM is doing its best to downplay the matter. Of the NYT, WaPo and LAT [Don’t you sometimes feel like the “comic weekly man?’-ed. You know… I do.], only the NYT has much coverage, focusing on the story (already known to blog readers) of former National Guard Commander Hodges:

The commander, Bobby Hodges, said in a telephone interview that network producers had never showed him the documents but had only read them to him over the phone days before they were featured Wednesday in a “60 Minutes” broadcast. After seeing the documents on Friday, Mr. Hodges said, he concluded that they were falsified. (bold mine)

The LAT doesn’t deal with Rather and CBS but chooses instead to center on the role of blogs, deflecting the real issues with already-debunked speculation about whether one poster at Free Republic had advanced knowledge of the forged memos. The WaPo buries the information about Hodges in another yawner (sorry, couldn’t finish reading it) about Bush’s National Guard service. Here’s my dopey short version of the Big National Guard Controversy….

All of us confronted with the draft back in Vietnam days had several choices from enlisting to fleeing the country. One was the NG and the conventional wisdom about that was that it was a “long slog,” but it tended to “dribble off” at the end. Well, I’m reasonably sure that CW was right and that Bush’s guard service, like almost everyone else’s, did dribble off. And since so many people know this, most of us are about as interested in this story as we are in soy futures in Kazakhstan.

The Rather Story is rather different. [Did you actually write that?–ed. You’re fired!]But what is most fascinating to me now is how the media is playing it. Leaving aside the obvious… that had the forged document come from the other side this would be trumpeted all over the front pages… I think this is causing consdierable nervousness. I doubt Rather is a well-loved figure. The pompous rarely are and he’s as pompous as it gets. But he is very much of them. He is part of the fabric of their self-image and their reality. I identified with that reality for ninety percent of my life. I know how complex it is to unravel that, how much risk it is to your entire personality structure. This is serious business.

UPDATE: Ratherbiased is pointing out that “Sixty Minutes” has apologized for a fake memo before. True enough, but it was a considerably less significant situation (story about border drug running). For them to apologize now has far greater implications. It would remind the public that one of the key players in the mainstream media is willing to promulgate forged documents to unseat a sitting president. That has historical significance.

MORE: In case you missed it, Beldar has more mysterious documents that have turned up on USA Today. Go figure. (link fixed)

AND: For those of you who have not or won’t get far enough in the comments, I would like to echo Charlie (C)’s praise below for this essay by Steve Horwitz.