Is Dan Rather a Suicide Bomber?

Friday, September 21st, 2007 2:36 pm by Neal

(Thanks, Lucianne)

Is Dan Rather a suicide bomber? If not, then why in the hell is he blowing himself up? Don’t miss Jonah Goldberg’s brilliant and hilarious piece in today’s National Review, I’m Rather Grateful. This is the loveliest thing we’ve read in a while. For those of us who remember Gunga Dan’s shenanigans and knew he got off too easily, his moronic lawsuit is proof, as Goldberg puts it, that “Ours is a just and decent God.” It’s also proof that you can’t cure stupid.

Frankly, we need this. And by “we,” I mean a grand coalition of people who delight in watching one of the 20th century’s most pompous gasbags fall from the top of the laughingstock tree and hit every branch on the way down. These are dour times, and if Gunga Dan and Hurricane Dan and What’s-The-Frequency-Kenneth Dan want to trade their Afghan robes, yellow windbreakers and enormous tinfoil hats for some baggy pants, bright-orange wigs and floppy shoes, I say let them. I just hope all of the Dans show up at the courthouse in a teensy-weensy clown car.

But we also need this because Rather’s “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” routine will help us get to the bottom of a story that was actually under-covered. CBS News, under Rather’s direction, ran with fake documents – or, to be fair, documents so shoddily verified that no unbiased journalist would have run with them. When confronted with the rank incompetence and bad faith of the team he led (the lead producer tried to coordinate with the Kerry campaign), Rather first allowed three of his colleagues to be thrown under the bus, while he took a few more face-saving laps around CBS before he was quietly escorted out the door like the muttering office old-timer who’s gone off his feed.

But now he’s back like a crazy man who shows up unannounced at the Christmas party smelling like cabbage and old newspapers, wearing a trench coat but no pants. He wants $20 million in compensatory damages and a whopping $50 million in punitive damages. I’m no fancy lawyer guy, but last I checked, punitive damages were awarded to send a signal that “this must never happen again.” So what’s the “this” here? That network news divisions should never again spend weeks selling off their credibility like a fire sale at Wal-Mart, claiming their story was “fake but true,” only to cave in to reality and admit they made a mistake?

UPDATE: Mark Steyn chimes in.

Jonah, my favorite Rather quote was from CNN a couple of years back. Larry King growled at him: “Afghanistan tough?”

“Yes, and Vietnam. But I never have any complaints,” replied Dan. “Danger is my business.”

Or at least it was until Karl Rove’s enforcers in the CBS corner office leaned on Dan to read out his apology and Danger Man rolled over like a cheap typewriter ribbon falling off the desk in the Texas National Guard typing pool.

As to your correspondent re Rush et al, the day Ann Coulter is anchoring the CBS Evening News he’ll have a point. Granted the nation is bitterly riven by partisan rancor, it’s a tragedy that conservatives and liberals cannot even come together to hoot and jeer at as magnificently pompous a blowhard laughingstock as Dan Rather.

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