Tuesday, March 15, 2005

They Chose the Wrong Man for Bad Reasons

American Spectator has an article by Reid Collins, a former CBS correspondent, about how Dan Rather got the job everyone thought Roger Mudd had in the bag. Link.
One day, six months before Cronkite was ready, top brass at CBS had an announcement: Cronkite's replacement would be -- Dan Rather -- and almost immediately. (...)

What happened? Rather's agents had lined him up with ABC News and told the CBS brass it was now or never; fork over the Cronkite job or we move Rather to ABC (cue sound of cheap suitcase collapsing). As the late ABC News chief Roone Arledge wrote in Roone: A Memoir, "What startled me most though, in scrambling to get Rather, CBS had pressured Cronkite into stepping aside six months in advance of his scheduled retirement."

So to keep from losing second-rater Dan Rather,CBS passed over, and soon lost to NBC, Roger Mudd and kicked out their superstar anchor, Walter Cronkite. What they got in return for giving in to near-extortion was third place ratings and a black eye to their credibility from which they may never recover. How's that for a deal?


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