Dan Rather is a mediocrity who is the CBS anchor today because on one horrible day he happened to be in the right place at the right time. Rather was in Dallas working for a local CBS affiliate on 11/22/63. When Kennedy was assassinated, he became CBS' point person the rest of the weekend, when the whole nation was watching TV. It made his career.
If you read Bernard Goldberg's books, you also learn of Rather's vanity and ruthlessness . He is a very thin—skinned man, who brooks no criticism. With his reputation at stake today, it was inevitable that he would circle the wagons, call in all his chits from 40 years at CBS, and lash out at Bush Cheney operatives, and partisan political types for trying to bring him down, as if anybody cares about Rather in all this, except Rather.
Playing defense with offense is the only way he can try to rally 45% of the country, and he hopes a disproportionate number of journalists, around him.
But a few of the other networks are enjoying seeing CBS muddle through the muck on this for days. The Boston Globe and the New York Times, which eagerly jumped in with front page stories for two days running on CBS's National Guard stories, have also tried in their own "fair and balanced" way to challenge the exposers of the Rather story, undermine their arguments, and lend credibility to CBS. If they are trying to help Kerry by this, they seem to have lost sight of the war that this cat fight is not helping him.
Between Ivan, and the CBS rear guard action to defuse Rathergate, Kerry is off the front pages. The continuing string of hurricanes is particularly bad news for Kerry. TV stations love storms. The storm coverage takes minutes each night and pages the next day that could be devoted to the latest Kerry formulation on his Iraq position. With Ohio now leaning to Bush, Kerry must win Florida,. With all the hurricanes, and damage, bringing his Misleading Whine tour to Florida would be unseemly. So Bush can visit Florida to drop off billions, and Kerry can watch 60 Minutes reruns.