Rather sues CBS for 70M


Former anchor Dan Rather has sued CBS for 70 million bucks, the New York Times first reported. The lawsuit filed in a New York state court alleges that the network made him a scapegoat to try to pacify the White House after CBS News was unable to verify the authenticity of documents used in a "60 Minutes II" report voiced by Rather in which the National Guard record of President George W. Bush was questioned. The lawsuit charges that CBS commissioned a biased investigation of the broadcast which damaged Rather’s reputation. At one point, the lawsuit says a CBS VP of Radio News Harvey Nagler admitted to Rather that his radio commentary was being pulled because of "pressure from the right wing." Rather’s suit charges that after he stepped down as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" CBS News violated his contract, with a six million annual base salary, by giving him little "60 Minutes" airtime and little staff support. The Times says he is seeking 20 million in compensatory damages and 50 million in punitive damages. In addition to CBS itself, the lawsuit also names as defendants Viacom, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves, Sumner Redstone (Chairman of both CBS and Viacom) and Andrew Heyward, former President of CBS News.

"These complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit," CBS spokesman Dana McClintock told TVBR.

TVBR/RBR observation: Gee, do you suppose Rather looked at the payoff Don Imus got for threatening to sue CBS over his firing and said, hey, why don’t I deserve some of that?