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Even though Dan Rather is one of the last surviving members of CBS’ team of journalists who were on the ground in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he has not been invited to take part in the network’s 50th anniversary coverage of that tragic day. He will be seen on just about every network except CBS.
Rather, 82, had helped CBS News put together coverage for Kennedy’s Dallas trip. At first it seemed like a mundane job, but things went horribly wrong that day and Rather was tasked with announcing on the radio that the president was dead. Rather stayed at CBS until 2006, after his reputation was tarnished by a 2004’s 60 Minutes story on President George W. Bush’s military service. He filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS, but it was thrown out in New York and he hasn’t worked for the network since.
However, he told the Associated Press that he was still reluctant to talk about his experiences on Nov. 22, 1963 with any other network. “I held off doing anything for anybody else for a while, thinking I may be asked to do something (for CBS),” he said. “I can’t say I had any reason for that hope.”
Since CBS news has not asked him to participate in its Nov. 16 special, he decided to appear on NBC’s Today. He will be on the show on Nov. 22 and is doing an interview with Tom Brokaw. Broadcasting & Cable reports that he plans on taping an hour-long special for his current employer, AXS TV, which will air on Nov. 18. He’s also set to appear on CNN’s The Sixties show on Nov. 22.
CBS’ special will be hosted by Bob Schieffer, who was a newspaper reporter in 1963. The network described the special as “Viewers are in the moment with legendary anchor Walter Cronkite and journalism’s iconic reporters: Charles Collingwood, Harry Reasoner, Charles Kuralt and Mike Wallace.” Rather’s name isn’t mentioned in the announcement, notes the AP.
“I’m proud of what CBS News did at the time,” Rather told the AP. “When the country needed it, CBS News was the best in the business.”
image: Wikimedia Commons