Most people seem to think Dan Rather is nuts for filing his vengeful $70 million lawsuit against CBS. And frankly, amid all of the hubbub and surprise, it's hard to remember the facts. But Mary Mapes, the 60 Minutes producer who fell on her own sword for Rather during the whole Bush–National Guard reporting mess, walks readers through it pretty simply in her Huffington Post blog, and she raises a good point. Rather, she says, is right in wanting to defend his reputation over this point – and might do some serious damage.
The facts are in his favor (though the interpretations, such as that CBS was acting at the behest of the White House, may be far-fetched), she says. "This episode deserves to be examined again and this may be the only way to accomplish that," Mapes writes. "Besides, a lawsuit also gives him that delicious power of discovery. Who knows what might shake loose?" An excellent question. The stone-faced anchor can't have missed that CBS News, at the nadir of a ratings slump, would be most vulnerable to a damaging investigative attack right now. Most of the damages he is requesting from the network are punitive, so it follows that he'd do his best to attack from an investigative-news angle, too (and turn up, we're guessing, dirt on more subjects than just his own scandal). If it works, one of the few people to emerge with their hands clean might just be Katie Couric, who came onboard after all of this mess. After Darth Rather reduces the news group to rubble, she'll finally get that clean slate on which to start creating her own legacy. You know, maybe one that involves smiling again.
Courage for Dan Rather [HuffPo]