Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather effectively ended his television career over 15 years ago as an embarrassment to himself and the journalism profession.
A decade-and-a-half later, he doesn’t seem to have changed much.
As a Twitter post he published Thursday showed, he’s still so intent on attacking Republicans he doesn’t expect the counterattack coming.
Rather’s departure from CBS back in 2006 was the closing act in a scandal that started in 2004, when Rather broadcast an infamous “60 Minutes II” segment that purported to prove then-President George W. Bush had received preferential treatment during his service in the Texas National Guard in the early 1970s. The story aired on the cusp of the presidential election and could well have damaged Bush’s re-election chances (as it was clearly intended).
Fortunately for the country, it did not end up with then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry winning the White House. (Thanks, Ohio voters. Democrats still aren’t over it.)
But unfortunately for Rather, the story was quickly proved to be based on forged documents, leading to the memorable New York Times headline that paraphrased a key figure in the scandal as calling the documents “fake, but accurate.”
The world has moved on, and Rather has new Republicans in his sights. But his aim is just as bad as ever.
On Thursday, the once-respected newsman took to Twitter to attack Sen. Ted Cruz over an interview Cruz gave to CNBC where he criticized the idea of forcing Americans to show they’ve received COVID-19 vaccinations.
"We should have no COVID mandates," says @SenTedCruz. "We shouldn't step into the regime where the government says show us your papers if you want to do the basic activities of life." pic.twitter.com/FOBnJymWAj
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) August 5, 2021
“We shouldn’t step into a regime where the government says ‘show us your papers’ if you want to do the basic activities of life,” Cruz said.
Rather decided that was an opportunity for him to rip Cruz, a fellow Texan, by alluding to Cruz’s controversial departure from the Lone Star State during the February ice storms that left hundreds of thousands of Texans without power.
Cruz and family headed for the warmer climes of Cancun, Mexico, which Rather brought up in a tweet he probably thought was hilarious.
“Don’t you have to show your papers to get on a flight to Cancun, and check into a luxury hotel?” he wrote.
Don't you have to show your papers to get on a flight to Cancun, and check into a luxury hotel? https://t.co/2ZxEzP5OUS
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 5, 2021
It’s not easy what to make of that tweet, really — beyond the sneering kind of juvenile malice liberals never seem to outgrow. It doesn’t have anything to do with what Cruz was talking about – a trip to Cancun isn’t part of the “basic activities of life” for most Americans.
But for Rather, just like in 2004, the opportunity to attack a prominent Republican was too good to let things like facts get in the way.
In 2004, Rather’s “fake, but accurate” story on “60 minutes II” blew up within days, scorched by viewers who recognized the documents Rather relied on as the fakes they were.
His Twitter comment Thursday was torched much faster, by Twitter users who knew Rather’s point was – as Rather himself he might put it, “shakier than cafeteria Jell-O.”
Of course, Rather had plenty of support – Twitter being the cesspool of liberal waste that it is these days. (Does anyone else wonder how these people stand their own sanctimony?)
But a number of users called Rather out on just how shaky his argument was, and any thinking conservative could see that his nonsense had backfired badly.
Cancun = International travel.
Luxury hotel = something only rich people do.
These bear as much similarity to going to @Walmart as a cannonball does to Jackfruit.
Dan Rather is an out-of-touch coastie. https://t.co/ekkAm70gAP
— xristosdomini (@xristosdomini) August 5, 2021
Good idea Dan, let's allow the government to force us to show papers every time we go shopping, to a movie, to a restaurant, to a sports event, etc., that sounds like the Apartheid era of South Africa, or Nazi occupation of France during WWII. Why wouldn't Americans want that?
— Jay Thomas (@JayTThomas17) August 5, 2021
And some users brought up the point that liberals might love the idea of documenting coronavirus vaccinations but are allergic to, say, requiring voters to document their identification.
And contrary to what some of Rather’s Twitter supporters claimed, the argument doesn’t go the other way. The integrity of the voting process in a democratic republic is more important to the long-term health of the country than coronavirus vaccinations are.
The coronavirus has killed too many people, obviously, but that’s still only a small percentage of those who get infected. Insecure voting can strike at the country’s entire foundation. The facts around 2020 election and its aftermath proved that.
BREAKING: Dan Rather pushes for voter IDs. https://t.co/KxGXjU4JfO
— TheRightWingM 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@TheRightWingM) August 5, 2021
— RoadMN 📈 (@RoadMN) August 5, 2021
And then there were those, like conservative talk show host Dana Loesch, who just couldn’t resist bringing up the 2004 scandal that ended Rather’s career at CBS, and anything resembling respectability in journalism.
You know all about faking papers, don’t you Dan https://t.co/sUVslggn96
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 5, 2021
— Horst De Wermer, DVM, MD, PhD, GED, DDS, MOUSE (@Crapplefratz) August 5, 2021
Cruz made the point in his CNBC interview. Coronavirus vaccinations might be a good idea, they might even save lives. But getting one is an individual choice.
Liberals like Dan Rather, obsessed with partisan animosity, can try to turn that into a Twitter zinger, but they’re only embarrassing themselves.
Just like Dan Rather in 2004, though, they can’t admit it.