With the Cate Blanchett–Robert Redford movie Truth set to arrive in U.K. theaters this weekend, The Guardian has published an interview of Dan Rather by Joe Queenan. It’s pretty clear from the following two paragraphs on which side of the mid-2000s CBS dividing line the article author stands:
In an unforgiving, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society, Rather’s name is automatically linked with one disastrous broadcast, not with his decades of exemplary work as a journalist. He wishes Truth had depicted the higher-ups at CBS openly rooting against the news team because of their allegiance to the Bush administration. He singles out Sumner Redstone, the former executive chairman of CBS and its parent company Viacom: “You don’t see Redstone saying, ‘I want a Republican elected because it’s good for business.’”
On the door of Rather’s office are engraved the famous words: “Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here, obedient to their laws we lie.” It is the epitaph of the 300 Spartans massacred at Thermopylae by a vast Persian army in 480BC, after giving the invaders a run for their money. It’s pretty obvious who the Persians are here…
Rather exited CBS in 2005, a year before Gerard Butler became a star via a groundbreaking green-screen movie about those same Spartans. And while Truth opens this weekend in the U.K., Butler’s latest, London Has Fallen, will be playing on U.S. screens. For his part, Rather continues to astutely view from the aisle a new era of news gathering, one that some might dub: Journalism Has Fallen.
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