Longtime former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who fell from grace after he was duped by fake documents allegedly pertaining to former president George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, has a new 30-minute news program on the liberal "Young Turks" network, according to CNN.
What's the story?
According to the CNN report, Rather hit it off with Young Turks founder and CEO Cenk Uygur during a recent phone call, and when Uygur offered Rather the opportunity to do a show on the online network, Rather "jumped at the opportunity."
The show will premiere Monday and be made available at 5:30 p.m. ET on a weekly basis. The CNN report described the show as being a "no bells and whistles" affair that will be filmed from Rather's office. According to the 86-year-old Rather, the focus of his show will be on stories that he believes are not getting enough attention in the media, as well as on "original reporting."
Rather told CNN that he was motivated to launch the show by President Donald Trump's "attacks" on the press: "I feel strongly that when you have a president who is continually, relentlessly damning the press, individuals by name, individual institutions and calling the press the enemy of the people — listen, this has to be resisted."
What's the background?
Rather, who used to anchor the nightly "CBS Evening News" broadcast and also contributed to CBS' weekly broadcast of "60 Minutes," experienced an abrupt fall from grace after a September 2004 segment about former president George W. Bush's alleged unsatisfactory performance as a member of the Texas Air National Guard was found to have been based in part on forged documents.
The report prominently featured documents that were allegedly discovered in the personnel files of Bush's former commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, who had since passed away.
Almost immediately after the report, conservative bloggers questioned the authenticity of the documents, which appeared on their face to have been generated with word processing technology — including fonts with modern typographic conventions — that would not have been in existence at the time the reports were allegedly generated.
CBS initially insisted that the documents had been authenticated by experts, but some of the experts quoted by CBS denied having done so. Under a cascade of criticism, CBS eventually confessed that the person who provided them with the documents had misled them about where he obtained them.
As a result of the controversy, CBS let go several producers connected with the incident and removed Rather from "60 Minutes." In subsequent months, Rather was quietly pushed out the door at CBS, which led him to sue the network for wrongful termination.
Astonishingly, in spite of overwhelming evidence that the Killian documents were faked, Rather stands by the story to this day, and even alleged in his lawsuit against CBS that his reporting on the story would someday be vindicated. A New York state appeals court dismissed Rather's lawsuit in 2009.
Since his ouster from CBS, Rather has bounced around various liberal cable news network outlets, including a multiple-year stint with Mark Cuban's HDNet.