David Freddoso | Don’t just laugh at Dan Rather — learn from him

In 2004, CBS News anchor Dan Rather was given a series of memos purporting to show how George W. Bush had avoided service in Vietnam during the early 1970s. Rather wanted so badly for the document to be real that he put it on the air without much thought. He even sexed up his sourcing a bit, claiming (falsely) that the documents had been authenticated by experts.

It took nearly two weeks for the fake documents to be exposed and for this highly damaging story about George W. Bush to be disproven. For most of that period, CBS News and Rather stridently defended their fake story, bringing further discredit upon the entire organization.

“Rathergate” was unique in its spectacular nature, but it was no isolated incident. It confirmed in conservatives’ minds the unmistakable pattern that even when conservatives are right on the merits (which is often), they will not get a fair shake from a mainstream political media whose practitioners are overwhelmingly left wing and vote 80 to 90 percent Democratic in every presidential election. There are some in denial about this reality, but the body of evidence is large enough that I was able to fill an entire book with examples (by no means comprehensive) just from the recent election campaign.


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