Rather and Moonves continue war of words


Dan Rather isn't backing down from his criticism of the new "CBS Evening News" after CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves accused him of being "sexist" in his remarks about the newscast changes with new anchor Katie Couric. Rather fired back in a Fox News Channel appearance that it isn't about gender, but rather that Moonves "doesn't know about news."

To recap, Rather began the public exchange of barbs by telling Joe Scarborough on MSNBC via a phone interview that CBS had damaged the newscast by "dumbing it down, tarting it up" and trying to make it more like NBC's "Today" show, from whence came Couric, to try to appeal to younger viewers. Moonves fired back in a New York event sponsored by the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications/Syracuse University, that Rather's comments were "sexist" and he repeated his confidence in Couric. In round three, Rather insisted on a Fox News Channel appearance with Neil Cavuto, "It doesn't have to do with Katie. It doesn't have to do with gender." Then he let one fly aimed right at his former boss. "Les Moonves knows about entertainment, but he doesn't know about news," Rather said.

SmartMedia observation: Some see this as Rather itching to take down Moonves. Maybe what Moonves is looking at is Reality TV, while Rather is viewing the evening news as journalism. Rather made his point on Neil Cavuto's FNC program extensively that evening news programs have no value by incorporating Paris Hilton in their content of journalism when more serious events are happening world wide. Rather stated that Moonves is a brilliant entertainment and programming executive, not a journalist. In short, TVBR will side more with Rather on this one and make this point that Mr. Moonves is no William S. Paley. Paley understood journalism, but also understood that good news programming was a solid key to selling advertising and in return making a nice profit.