CBS News president Sean McManus has issued a press release officially announcing the end of Dan Rather’s career at CBS News.
I think CBS News handled this disgracefully. The organization should have just fired Rather when other heads were rolling over the fraudulent memos. To ease him out the door this way robs him of his dignity.
For one thing, he deserved to be fired. For days after the story aired, he stonewalled and stood by it instead of admitting that the documents were clearly frauds. But firing him would have served the additional purpose of allowing him to save face by claiming that CBS News was just not brave enough to stick by a controversial story (or some such garbage). He’d probably be a Huff Post regular by now.
As it happened, though, he stuck around until they made it clear they didn’t want him anymore. By now, he can’t really regain his dignity by railing against CBS News, because he stuck with the network as long as he could.
Of course, most of the blame for his predicament belongs on Rather himself. But CBS News shouldn’t have kept him hanging on like this. He should have been fired.
UPDATE: Rather is trying to save face by criticizing CBS News:
My departure before the term of my contract represents CBS’s final acknowledgement, after a protracted struggle, that they had not lived up to their obligation to allow me to do substantive work there. As for their offers of a future with only an office but no assignments, it just isn’t in me to sit around doing nothing. So I will do the work I love elsewhere, and I look forward to sharing details about that soon.
Why didn’t they just fire him? I’m not taking Dan Rather’s side in this — if it were up to him, he’d still be the star at the network. I just think the way CBS handled it was sleazy.