Word Play: Rather Stays Above The “Tart”

By Guest 

This afternoon, in a taping of his weekly HDNet news show at the University of Pennsylvania, Dan Rather sat down with legendary newsman Ted Koppel. The two talked about the current state and future of news: on TV and online.

During the taping, Rather used a variation of the phrase that caused a clamor last month, saying there continues to be a “dumbing down and sleazing up of news.” In early June, while on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Rather used the phrase “tarting up” in place of “sleazing up.” Many took that as a shot at his successor in the Evening News chair, Katie Couric.

After the taping, Rather told TVNewser, “I’ve used the phrase (tart) for years, through the 1990’s. Some people didn’t like what I had to say. They were looking for a way to attack me. Any reasonable, thinking person understood what I was saying.” When asked if he would use the word again, Rather said: “to tell the truth, I don’t know. I wouldn’t shy away from it…” In fact, in the days after the utterance, it was revealed on CNN that Rather had in fact used the word while talking about TV News.

Today’s taping of Dan Rather Reports will air late next month on HDNet.