Tuned In

Emmy Weighs Anchors

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Not surprisingly, the Emmys gave a tribute to the three network news anchors who left the air this past year: Peter Jennings’ death more or less required it, and it would have looked rude to then omit Tom Brokaw. But that left Emmy in the position of having to retrospectively honor Dan Rather, who left the air under a cloud over Memogate.

The tribute reel alluded to his problems only very obliquely, with an interview in which Rather said he sometimes could have done a better job reining in his “passion,” accompanied by a clip of his famous combative interview with the first President Bush. Weirdly, that allusion — probably an effort to politely sidestep his controversy — actually seemed to make his most partisan critics’ argument for them. After all, the most ardent Rather-haters said that Memogate was the result of Rather’s excessive “passion” against Bush, whereas his argument was that it was simply about pursuit of a story. The Jennings tribute was affecting nonetheless, but it was a strange little segment in what has been a strange little Emmys.