Tuned In

Dan Rather, Still Madder Than a Rattlesnake Trying to Bite a Fencepost

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Thought Dan Rather (doing long pieces at HDNet) and CBS (stuck with Katie Couric) had moved on from the National Guard memo imbroglio? Think again: Rather has filed a $70 million lawsuit against the network for breach of contract in the manner that it handled his departure. According to the New York Times report, Rather also charges that CBS conducted a biased investigation against him under political pressure:

In the suit, filed this afternoon in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Rather charges that CBS and its executives made him “a scapegoat” in an attempt “to pacify the White House,” though the formal complaint presents virtually no direct evidence to that effect. To buttress this claim, Mr. Rather quotes the executive who oversaw his regular segment on CBS Radio, telling Mr. Rather in November 2004 that he was losing that slot, effective immediately, because of “pressure from ‘the right wing.’ ”

As the Times’ Jacques Steinberg points out, however the case goes, the prospect of re-airing the Guard-memo controversy (and its investigation and internal handling) can’t be pleasant for CBS. You’d think it wouldn’t be for Rather either, but apparently his treatment by CBS left him feeling he had nothing to lose. And, apparently, about $70 million to gain.