Like the Tears of a Texas Crocodile on Groundhog Day


Dan Rather is transitioning to his new job on the rubber chicken circuit by unleashing his inner Tom Coburn.

occasionally forcing back tears, he said that in the intervening years, politicians "of every persuasion" had gotten better at applying pressure on the conglomerates that own the broadcast networks. He called it a "new journalism order."

He said this pressure—along with the "dumbed-down, tarted-up" coverage, the advent of 24-hour cable competition and the chase for ratings and demographics—has taken its toll on the news business. "All of this creates a bigger atmosphere of fear in newsrooms," Rather said.

Whole boo-hoo here. My assessment of Rather as "one of journalism's all-time great self-flagellators, always eager to confess blame for the declining standards of the trade, always making sure to spread that blame out nice and thick on the rest of us…and always showing up on time to collect his seven-figure paycheck" … here.

Speaking of blubbery broadcasters, CNN is now officially unwatchable. Yesterday I almost spit up my avocado salad watching Wolf Blitzer A) attempt to emote, and B) confess to Jack Cafferty and his Beaver Brown Band that when he watches videotape from New Orleans* "sometimes I just get so mad" (quote from my memory*). And Anderson Cooper has now become what those guest artistes are on Kurt Andersen's precious Studio 360 NPR show—people who the anchor asks, "So, what did you think about that?" Frankly, I'm more interested in the musings of Andersen's multimedia architect/bass players.

So, what did Dapper Dan think about his ex-comrades' Katrina performance? "They were willing to speak truth to power."

* UPDATE: Never trust my "memory." Alert reader Ken Basart points out that, "You know, CNN posts their transcripts. Way to do research, 'journalist'!" Turns out the Blitzer/Cafferty moment was about a new Al Qaeda videotape, and the exact Wolf quote is: "It's very frustrating. Every time we see one of these tapes, it gets me mad. I don't know if you can tell."