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Thursday, March 10, 2005
We're "Rather" Glad To See You Go, Dan:
You would think that now former CBS anchorman Dan Rather's peers would be spending some quality time reflecting on his work for the network now that he has stepped down, but you would think wrong:
A few days ago, Cronkite, now 88 years old, went on CNN to remind the world what a longtime ratings loser Rather has been.
“It’s quite a tribute to him that he — that CBS held on to him so long under those circumstances,” Cronkite said. “It surprised quite a few people at CBS and elsewhere that, without being able to pull up the ratings beyond third in a three-man field, that they tolerated his being there for so long.”
Cronkite also made it clear that he thinks Rather’s interim successor, Bob Schieffer, will do a better job than Rather.
“Although Dan did a fine job, I would like to have seen [Schieffer] there a long time ago,” Cronkite said.
Earlier, Cronkite joined a gaggle of CBS veterans to cast aspersions on Rather’s record, telling The New Yorker that viewers sensed that Rather was “playing the role of newsman.”
“60 Minutes” star Mike Wallace told the magazine that Rather is “not as easy to watch as [ABC’s Peter] Jennings or [NBC’s Tom] Brokaw” because his on-air performance is “uptight and occasionally contrived.”
Former “60 Minutes” chief Don Hewitt said viewers just never liked Rather very much. “If you’re in a three-network race and you come in third,” Hewitt told The New Yorker, “then the public is against you.”
And “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney called anchoring “a dumb job” and said of Rather and his fellow anchormen, who often like to anchor from the site of news events, “To gain some credibility, they all feel obliged to go out and stand in the wind. They should either accept their role as a news reader or become a reporter.”
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