Former CBS anchorman warns of corporate influence over news

On September 16, Dan Rather, the former anchor of the CBS Evening News, warned that today’s news is shaped by very powerful corporate network owners who “are in bed with powerful political interests” that are influenced by government regulatory interests.

Rather spoke at a National Press Club remembrance of his colleague Walter Cronkite, his predecessor in the CBS Evening News anchor chair, and Don Hewitt, the late producer of 60 Minutes.

Rather revealed that in his conversations with Cronkite, the late anchor also believed that corporate interests were shaping the news to the detriment of objective journalism.

Rather also said that corporations were determining “war coverage of the lack of coverage.” He also warned that there are “too few owners of networks and stations.”

Rather was joined on the stage by fellow former CBS newsmen Daniel Schorr and Marvin Kalb. Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation, also participated in remembering Cronkite and Hewitt.

All the participants criticized a recent piece written by Michael Kinsley who charged that Cronkite was merely a person who could read from a teleprompter. All Cronkite’s former colleagues recalled stories about Cronkite editing stories based on new information he and his news team received in as little as seven minutes before the CBS Evening News went on the air nationwide. All the participants said that Cronkite had a unique ability to ad lib during hours-long live special events coverage, including political conventions and national elections, as well as space missions. (Online Journal, 9.22.2009, Wayne Madsen)

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