The usually unfunny, low-rated “The Daily Show” was for once funny (albeit unintentionally for them) on Wednesday night when even after its liberal host, Jon Stewart, who is so liberal that he allegedly told Roger Ailes that he had socialist leanings and would like to vote for a candidate like former Socialist Party candidate for president Norman Thomas, asked the disgraced Dan Rather if, in his experience, most journalists were “somewhat more liberal,” Rather seriously responded by saying, “No, it hasn’t been my experience.”
Rather’s response seemed to puzzle even Stewart, which is a concession about how liberal Stewart’s peers in the mainstream media and culture industries are.
“Oh, that hasn’t been your experience?,” a surprised Stewart asked.
“I know that it's widely believed that CBS, NBC, ABC chock full of liberals...Not true,” Rather said. “What it is a chock full of is people who wanted to give honest news, straightforward news, and voted both ways in many elections.”
This contradicts what Jim Vandehei, the co-founder of Politico, admitted this year during a March 13th edition of “Politico Live,” which was a web show in which reporters from the beltway media organization gave commentary on the night’s primary elections.
“Are reporters biased? There is no doubt,” Vandehei said. “I’ve worked at the Wall Street Journal, I’ve worked at the Washington Post, I’ve worked here at Politico, and, if I had to guess, if you put all of the reporters that I’ve ever worked with on truth serum, most of them vote Democratic.”
Rather, who now works for Mark Cuban’s HDNet, said American journalism has “lost its guts” and “needs a spine transplant.
“I do not exempt myself in this criticism - made my mistakes along this line,” Rather said, before adding that journalists feel “there is a price to pay” for asking tough questions these days so they just go along with the flow because they are concerned about paying their mortgages and getting a paycheck.
The mistakes Rather, who often hid his liberal biases with his Texas swang and phrases, was referring to was his prominent role in “Rathergate” during the 2004 presidential election in which CBS published and reported on forged National Guard documents that were critical of President George W. Bush’s service. The event was a tipping point for conservative bloggers in the new media who proved CBS’s documents were forgeries and debunked CBS’s report that, in another era, would not and could not have been. “Rathergate” led to Rather’s downfall and accelerated the rise of the new media, particularly on the right, that competes for space in the media landscape today.
Rather’s comments on “The Daily Show” prove he is hilariously still clinging on to a bygone era that is not coming back.