“Tarting It Up” Isn’t New For Rather

By Brian 

In the midst of this debate about Dan Rather‘s use of the phrase “dumbing it down, tarting it up,” it’s important to note that he has used this formulation for years.

“He did an interview with Terry Smith for the NewsHour in early 2001 where he used the exact phrase he’s taking heat for, although he flipped the equation. He was referring to no one specifically and explained the usage in context,” a former CBSer writes to TVNewser. “So, all the outrage over his alleged slander of Katie Couric might indeed be misplaced.”

Here’s the quote: “I don’t want us to tailor our news standards to fit the trend of the day or the style of the day. And this I think is an important point for the audience to understand, Terry: In this newsroom and in every newsroom in the country, whether they will admit it or not, fear is a major factor. It’s the fear that if we don’t do it, whatever ‘it’ is — tart it up, dumb it down, go more entertainment, go more for what’s interesting as opposed to what’s important — our competitors will, and they will eventually drive us out of business.”