Roger L. Simon

The Grey Lady Chimes in on Rathergate

Overall, The New York Times did not pull many punches in its first post mortem on CBS’ internal investigation of the Rather Affair. I don’t think Dan Rather will enjoy reading their coverage, nor will CBS news division president Anthony Heyward who is, by implication, compared unfavorably to former Times Managing Editor Howell Raines (who had the grace to withdraw when those under him were discredited).

pulls the most interesting, or at least poignant, quote:

[A] production staff member said the staff at CBS did not feel powerful enough to bring about change. “We have no juice,” the staff member said. “We’re a dying business, and this didn’t help us. Some people feel like CBS News could be out of business in five years.”

I agree. In fact, unlike Hindrocket, I think this is a highly likely outcome. CBS News is a vestige of the old days when the networks ruled the television airwaves. The major networks themselves are outdated constructs which mix entertainment and news. Who is interested in that anymore when both are becoming increasingly “on demand” commodities whether via TiVo, all-news networks or shortly and inevitably the Web? The traditional model of the network is on its way out. That, notwithstanding all the pea-brained bias of Ms. Mapes and the pompous buffoonery of Dan Rather, may ultimately be the real story here.