Photograph by Mr. John Filo

Dan Rather - HD Net

Watching the Kennedy assassination, I became acquainted with first, a voice, and then, a face.  It was Dan Rather.  Since then, I feel like I have 'known" him because I trusted him to bring me fair and balanced accounts of the day's news through his employment as a reporter for CBS News, where he worked for some 43 years, the last 24 of which were at the anchor's chair of the CBS Evening News.  He did many radio segments over the years that I listened to which were influential.


On October 16, 2012, I was given a rare and extremely gratifying opportunity to interview Mr. Rather.


We spoke by telephone for 20 minutes.  He gave me an extra five, as we only planned for 15.  I take that as a point of pride. The recording is available at the bottom of this page.


Mr. Rather addressed the upcoming election, the Obama Presidency, notes from his new autobiography Rather Unspoken, observations on the assassination of John Kennedy, (a story Mr. Rather broke) and lastly, a comment on the breaking of the firewall between the corporate influence and the newsroom, something which has the potential to erode journalism by tainting the public's ability to be exposed to the best quality sources available.  The logic of the argument is simple; occasionally, sources might say things that might affect the bottom line of the corporation that owns that particular newsroom.  At what point is the public interest more important than corporate profits? 


Mr. Rather continues to be at the center of vital, important events in American history and his reporting shapes history directly.  Take, for instance Mr. Rather breaking the news about the horrors American soldiers were committing at a prison in Iraq named Abu Ghraib.  A free press is essential.  Mr. Rather seems to understand that better than most people, especially celebrated journalists who prefer to read press releases over the more challenging and proper task of asking penetrating questions because of fear.  "Absolute power..." you know the remainder....  


These essential elements of a free country are discused in detail in Mr. Rather's book, and briefly in our interview.  He ends with a powerful directory of what an informed citizenry can do to keep tabs on our elected officials, or as another Finding Sources interviewee, Miss Helen Thomas, might say, what citizens might do to be the Watchdog of Democracy.   Mr. Rather says, you have to "work at it," to be an informed citizenry.  His words were wonderfully close to Millie Jeffrey's phrase "Keep At It," the subject of another investigation by Palo Alto High Students (http://www.milliejeffrey.com)


Click Here For Palo Alto HIgh School Student Levi Schoeben's Article from the Paly Voice on Dan Rather Speaking To Students (audio included)

Below you will find a broadcast quality audio file of the interview David Rapaport conducted with Mr. Rather on October 16, 2012, the 153rd anniversary of John Brown's Harper's Ferry Raid.



Dan Rather Talks with D. Rapaport






Dan Rather's Official Website


FINDING SOURCES-Questions I would have liked to ask Dan Rather

  • Why do you think the story about Pat Tillman's death was intentionally covered up by General Stanley McChrystal?  Could there be more to this story than we already know?
  • What does Mr. Rather think of the Bush Administration's move to re-direct troops away from Afghanistan and into Iraq?
  • What are Mr. Rather's comments on whether the Iran-Contra scandal was in many ways worse than Watergate?
  • How betrayed did Mr. Rather feel by people he trusted to protect the integrity of the News Division of CBS, which had been pridefully nurtured by names like Robert Trout, Charles Collingwood, Daniel Schorr,  Walter Cronkite, Richard Salant, Dan Rather, and William Paley?
  • Is it true that former President Bush has never disavowed or refuted the story Mr. Rather originally ran while at CBS about Mr. Bush's Texas National Guard duty by providing documentary evidence?
  • Is Mr. Rather still investigating why President Bush refuses to disclose his whereabouts for lengthy periods of time when he was supposed to be serving our country in uniform?
  • Does Mr. Rather think all administrations are alike?  Have we progressed politically to a more honest government in the sense that when George Bush was President and Dick Cheney VP, we had activities going on in the highest levels of the White House that were determined by a jury to be felonies, I refer of course to the VP's Chief of Staff, convicted felon Scooter Libby's behavior.   Are we a more ethical government now?  Or, are there equally pernicious forces at play in the the Obama Administration that we just don't know about: forces worthy of investigation?