Friday, March 04, 2005

Rather Excellent Tales: The Glory Years

1975 - 1988: For Dan Rather watchers, this time span is akin to the 1965-1967 Beatles, or the Stones from 1967 - 1973. Rather's unique brand of political artistry begins to blossom, and the kooky guy we all love to hate begins to show his inner maniac. There would be other great Rather moments, to be sure, and we'll get to them; but these were the times that tried men's souls (sources for much that follows can be found here and here)...
  • 1980 - Rather admits to hard drug experimentation in an interview with Ladies Home Journal; refuses to pay cab fare and ends up in a fracas involving police and a hysterical accusation of kidnapping
  • 1981 - named anchor of CBS News, replacing Walter Cronkite
  • 1984 - accuses Walter Mondale(!!!) of moving to the right
  • 1985 - makes the hilariously pointless decision to end his broadcasts by saying "Courage"; 28 people die from hysterical laughing fits
  • 1986 - Rather is mugged by a man shouting, "Kenneth, What is the Frequency?", later immortalized by R.E.M.
  • 1987 - in a stunning display of arrogance and unprofessionalism, walks off the set and leaves six minutes of dead air when a tennis match runs long; inexplicably, he retains his position
  • 1988 - Rather reveals his hatred of the Bushes for the first time when he interviews GB 41 and repeatedly interrupts him to ask what he knew about Iran-Contra; an angry Bush ends the interview and the entire liberal press corp condemns Rather as having gone too far; amazingly, he still keeps his job
FUN FACTS: In 1975, Bruce Springsteen released Born to Run; in 1987, Tunnel of Love. Thus, most observers would put his "Glory Days" (a big Bruce hit, of course) during almost the exact same time period. In 2004, both Dan Rather and Bruce Springsteen would campaign for John Kerry (in their own ways, of course)...coincidence or not?...

Rather Excellent Tales: Birth of a Legend
Rather Excellent Tales: The College Years
Rather Excellent Tales: Heading on Down to Houston Town
Rather Excellent Tales: A Star is Born
Rather Excellent Tales: On to CBS
Rather Excellent Tales: The White House Years

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