Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It's Rather Retiring of CBS ...

... to announce the winding down of a career with such highs and lows.

Not that it's entirely wound down, of course. Dan Rather will still draw a paycheque, but he'll be doing "special assignments." That's a euphemism for "I'll only appear on TV three or four times a year, if there's a special story I want to work on."

This is pretty much the same deal CBS gave Walter Cronkite when he retired; he did a couple of news specials on the space program and pursued a few other projects before finally disappearing off the public scene. In Dan's case, I suspect he'll do some news specials on Vietnam, the Nixon presidency and Afghanistan. (The latter is most likely since the country is liable to blip back on the radar thanks to the War on Terror.) All of these are historical pieces, about topics which Rather worked on during his heyday. which takes him out of the line of fire for contemporary politics; I strongly doubt they'll have him do Presidential detail, much less a Campaign 2006 or 2008.

There are those who say Dan Rather should be fired, due to the Rathergate issue. I'll admit I'm one of them, but I think this is for the best. It's a cinch to believe that Rather would have stayed at the anchor desk until his 75th birthday, had Rathergate not happened. This way, at least, he gets to retain his dignity, no matter what the Rathergate investigation says. (And who's to say he didn't get his pension reduced, right?)

2004 turned out to be Rather's annus horribilis, and Rathergate pretty much put an end to his active career. Far better to take the parachute than get tossed out.

Of course, Dan Rather could try to start a weblog. That would be an ironical end, wouldn't it?