Rather on the Kalb Report

Monday’s usually the day that Washingtonians take a breather from happy hours and cocktail parties and, instead, make their way to the gym and the grocery store. So we’ll assume that you missed last night’s 8 p.m. live airing of “The Kalb Report” (an interview show hosted by Journalism Rockstar Marvin Kalb…Bio here). (Or perhaps you were watching the Arrested Development…either way, we’ll bring you up to speed).

Kalb interviewed Dan Rather at the National Press Club for a segment called “The Future of Journalism.”

Dan on several occasions seemed on the verge of tears when addressing topics particularly close to his heart. He also verged on the defensive when discussing the National Guard story that helped lead to his demise.

No doubt, the water cooler talk (among those who watched and care) this morning has either consisted of who were reminded by last night’s conversation why they dislike Rather or those who wish he’d come back

Some choice bits from last night after the jump.


Rather’s definition of a journalist:

“If you seek to explain, cast new light on, give eye witness and or ear witness testimony to the Who? What? Where? When and Why? on events, than that’s journalism and that’s the practice of journalism and those who do it are journalists.”

Rather on blogging:

“If the person is a blogger and wants to be called a journalists…lets start with: is your name address on it, do people know how to reach you and are you accountable for what you do. I’d eliminate anybody who does not do that.”

Media’s low standing:

Kalb: Every poll … ranks journalists down there with root canal specialists as the kind of person they want nothing to do with.

Rather: I think that we are responsible for that and I do not exclude myself from that criticism … I’m a great believer in the ten magic words: if it is to be, it is up to me. You have to have personal responsibility and professional and craft responsibility.

When journalism is at or near its best, when it is doing what American journalism has made its reputation doing, when we are true to ourselves, the oublic responds and responds in a positive way. You need look no further than with Katrina and 9-11. Reporters got there, they took you there, that’s what television does best.

What Rather learned from the National Guard story:

“Not to overgeneralize about bloggers … ”

“There are bloggers who have as much integrity as I or the most integrity filled people I know … there are other bloggers and I’ll go ahead and say that some of the ‘mainstream’ press seem to take, if not delight in our dilemma, they picked up pretty quickly on those bloggers who were partisan, politically affiliated … and instead of saying well, they’ve raised these questions about the documents, are these questions true? next thing I know they are in the mainstream newspapers.”

“My principle … problem was that I stuck by the story, I stuck by our people for too long. I’m guilty of that. I believed in the story, the facts of the story were correct. One supporting pillar of the story–albeit an important one–was brought into question. To this day, no one has proven whether it was what it was purported to be or not.”

“The story is accurate.”

“There’s party of me that thinks damn I wish I hadn’t caved. I wish I‘d stuck with it.”