Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What's the frequency Kenneth?

I have to report that I find a great deal of sadness in the news that Dan Rather is stepping aside in March as anchor of the CBS Evening News. In recent years, we've known Rather to spout off some pretty biased reporting, not the least of which was his 1988 interview with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, in which he all but heckled the Veep in his questioning. Most recently, Rather anchored a 60 Minutes piece questioning President Bush's National Guard record using what later turned out to be forged documents.

Rather wasn't always so rediculous, however. His folksy charm made Election Night fun. Rather is from Texas, if I am not mistaken, and he had a way with words when interpreting a result. "Gore is sweeping through New England like a bad Noreaster," or "Bush is rolling through the South like a wagon wheel in a cotton field" were common phrases on the night of an election. He once said about an Ohio Senate election that the race was "hotter than a hickory fire." I always felt his political reporting was some of the most fair in the business.

It is quite a shame that the bad 60 Minutes bit has permanently soured Dan Rather's reputation. He is perhaps most famous, however, for his account of a street attack in which he was allegedly tackled while walking down the street. According to Rather, the man who attacked him forced him to the ground and then asked: "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" It became a rather famous rock song.


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