The story behind the story — CNN’s decision to invite the most disgraced journalist alive, Dan Rather, on to pontificate on another person’s tendency to distort the truth — would provide a good laugh if it weren’t another bitter reminder of how far the American media have fallen. But a tweet teasing Rather’s appearance deserves some attention of its own. It reads:
“The President has the strongest and the most powerful platform for propaganda that humans have ever had,” iconic broadcaster
@DanRather tells @brianstelter. “No President has ever had this kind of reach.” [Emphasis added]
Iconic broadcaster? Rather’s four-decade career with CBS News ended under a cloud of shame after he presented “manufactured” documents on air in 2004 that were intended to throw shade on George W. Bush, who was seeking re-election. The incident may have marked the birth of fake news with both Rather and the network insisting that the documents had been authenticated by experts, which itself turned out to be a lie in at least one case.
Now on Sunday here was Rather. age 87, to throw stones at another Republican president. The question that Rather was asked to answer, ironically, was how Donald Trump can continue to get away with abusing his bully pulpit (Rather calls it “the strongest and the most powerful platform for propaganda that humans have ever had”) in this age of digital communication. Rather’s own bully pulpit was wrested from him when he attempted to pass off a printed MS Word document as a typewritten document from the 1970s.
Here is a video of the exchange in which CNN’s Brian Stelter practices his own skills at spreading fake news here in the digital age by referring to the New Zealand mosque shooter inaccurately as a “white supremacist,” for more on which see here.
"The President has the strongest and the most powerful platform for propaganda that humans have ever had," iconic broadcaster @DanRather tells @brianstelter. "No President has ever had this kind of reach." pic.twitter.com/4lX3tCgbwY
— CNN (@CNN) March 17, 2019