Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dan, Dan, Dan. WHEN will you learn?

So Dan Rather is suing CBS for $70 million dollars. $20 million for making him a scapegoat for the President Bush report 2 years ago and $50 million in punitive damages. My hubby was saying "What, it took him 2 years to figure out how to sue?"

But I think it's because Katie Couric (grimace. Sorry, can't stand her.) is failing spectacularly at anchoring the CBS evening news. I have many opinions why it's not working, but I'll stick with she's too used to mornings and evening news is entirely different. Take it from me who worked 19 years in broadcast news.

You see, if Katie had better ratings, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. She's better! The network is making money! But for them to force him out one year before his big anniversary of taking over the anchor chair for someone who's ratings are tanking worse than his, then obviously it was a conspiracy and he should be compensated for the way he was treated.

The way he was treated? I always heard that Dan ran the ship at CBS and if Dan didn't like you, you might as well turn in your microphone and hairspray and head back to a Top 50 market, or better yet, try for a cable network.

I don't have anything against Dan. Despite working for various CBS affiliates where I sort of HAD to watch the CBS evening news, he never bothered me. Except on election night. I really rather preferred Peter Jennings, truth be told, after working for an ABC affiliate, but I grew up watching Tom Brokaw and really liked him too. So pretty much, I could watch any of them, but would rank them Peter, Tom and Dan if I had to.

While the Bush story debacle "ruined" Dan's legacy of reporting and doing the tough stories and being the anchor who left the desk to report live from the field, I hardly think a $70 million dollar lawsuit will

A) Solve anything
B) Make Dan feel any better about being forced to resign

What if CBS took that $70 million and spread it around the smallest 50 markets, where their gear is held together by duct tape, where the fledgling reporters are buying their on-air clothes at Target and sharing tiny little apartments with multiple roommates because they're making what's basically minimum wage, where there's no one to teach you how to write to video or how to handle a tough situation with the cops who don't want you to shoot the crime scene? Those kids are straight out of school and there's no one showing them the ropes.

Which is too bad because the larger markets are desperate for reporters and producers and throwing barely capable men and women in over their heads into a news cycle that's 24 hours, with a deadline every 5 minutes, where there's no time to THINK about the right thing, you just have to KNOW it, but oh yeah, there's no one TRAINED here, so there are mistakes everywhere and stories that shouldn't air ... oops, just like yours, Dan. Stories that aren't researched by people without enough experience.

Dan, now THAT would be a legacy.

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