If you don't like the question, shut off the power

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
From the CourierPost Online:

"Here's the scene: Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is in Cherry Hill, giving a speech about the need for journalists to do better.

"What's gone out of fashion is the tough question and the follow-up," he tells an admiring audience of about 600 people at Cherry Hill's Star Forum.

So how can I, the guy covering Rather's remarks, just sit there?
When he finishes, I hurry to a floor mike to ask Rather about an issue that will be part of my story.

"Mr. Rather," I say. "Great suggestions. But you left the anchor desk last year after your report questioning President Bush's military service was discredited. Key memos could not be authenticated. Do you think the failure to ask questions then affects your credibility now?"

Rather responds with civility -- if not clarity. He notes, in part, that an independent review "couldn't determine whether the documents were authentic or not."

Eager to please, I follow up: "The Courier-Post won't run something if we're not sure it's authentic. Are you saying it's OK . . ."

But my microphone goes dead...."

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