Bill O'Reilly says in the New York Daily News on 11/29/04
"As a CBS News correspondent in the early '80s, I worked with Rather and have known him for more than 20 years. Listen to me: There is no way on this Earth that he would have knowingly used fake documents on any story.
It may be true that Rather did not vet the information supplied to him by producers, but few anchor people do. They are dependent on other journalists, and this is a huge flaw in the system.
Dan Rather is guilty of not being skeptical enough about a story that was politically loaded. "
O'Reilly, probably because he has known Rather for 20 years, didn't, as the countryboy Dan might say, plow this ground deep enough. The question O'Reilly should be asking is why
didn't Rather vet the information. Given Rather's liberal bias and probable absolute glee at finding something, however tainted, that would shoot down the Bush campaign Rather didn't vet the information because he wanted to believe it was true or thought that he could slide the slime on by the American people wrapped in his aura of respectability. The information loosely fit right in with his and, as the backwoods Dan would say, other dogs' sniffing this trail, preconceived notions about Bush's TANG service so he wrapped it, packaged it, and served it to the unsuspecting public as "news".
Dan Rather did not get what he deserved in this case. He made a mistake, as we all do, but he is not a dishonest man.
Unfair freedom of speech did him in. This is not your grandfather's country anymore.
I agree with O'Reilly here. Rather didn't get what he deserved. He should have been fired. If
he made a simple mistake, he made a mistake an honest cub reporter shouldn't have made. It is pretty obvious what was going on in the See-BS News offices and it wasn't a mistake. Dan Rather abused his right to freedom of speech to say what he wanted to say in order to affect a national election. My grandfather would have laughed in Dan Rather's face after kicking his butt.