I’ve just finished reading Dan Rather’s complaint against CBS, Viacom et. al. and I have to say, it really got me going. There’s never been anything quite like it, and it has the potential to lay bare the sleazy, compromised relationship between the White House and corporate media in a dramatic and oh-so-entertaining way.
Sidney Blumenthal seems to agree:
If the court accepts his suit, however, launching the adjudication of legal issues such as breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with contract, it will set in motion an inexorable mechanism that will grind out answers to other questions as well. Then Rather’s suit will become an extraordinary commission of inquiry into a major news organization’s intimidation, complicity and corruption under the Bush administration. No congressional committee would be able to penetrate into the sanctum of any news organization to divulge its inner workings. But intent on vindicating his reputation, capable of financing an expensive legal challenge, and armed with the power of subpoena, Rather will charge his attorneys to interrogate news executives and perhaps administration officials under oath on a secret and sordid chapter of the Bush presidency.
In making his case, Rather will certainly establish beyond reasonable doubt that George W. Bush never completed his required service in the Texas Air National Guard. Moreover, Rather’s suit will seek to demonstrate that the documents used in his “60 Minutes II” piece were not inauthentic and that he and his producers acted responsibly in presenting them and the information they contained — and that that information is true. Indeed, no credible source has refuted the essential facts of the story.
The complaint reads like a potboiler, and throws into broad relief the way the GOP bullies and intimidates its enemies while its friends wallow in spin. If Rather can rip the lid off that at this critical juncture when the fourth estate has fallen down so badly just at the time we need them most, it may be the crowning achievement of his journalistic career.