Dan Rather a Future Blogger?
Dave Winer relates a conversation he had with former CBS anchor Dan Rather last evening, in which the old newshound said he might start a blog when he finally retires from the network. Apparently, CBS discourages its employees from blogging.
I think Rather could be a great blogger. He’s a thoughtful, considerate person, who thinks about stuff. He has strong opinions about what should be covered by the news, about the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy, and he certainly has experienced the power of blogging personally, and has now had time to reflect. These are qualities of the blogosphere, although the louder and more sensational voices of course tend to be heard more by the MSM than the thoughtful ones. I don’t doubt that Rather would be listened to.
Given his broadcast presence it might make more sense to podcast, and to do interviews with other people. I can tell you for sure, I’d love to do a series of podcasts with him. I kept thinking about that as I listened to the on-stage interview. There are so many challenging ways to approach his story, places to go with the events that don’t lead to the same tired places that mainstream news people always go to. Lessons not only for the old news medium, but for the new. His career has gone from the Vietnam War to Iraq; from the political activism of the 60s, to the activism of the blogosphere. His point of view is an inherently interesting one.
I agree that Rather has many of the skills to be a superb blogger and that he is an interesting and generally likeable man. Certainly, I would tune in from time to time to see what he had to say. Rather, Tom Brokaw, and the late Peter Jennings were the last of the generation of news anchors to whom most of the country actually tuned in regularly to get their news. While I disagree with them, especially Rather and Jennings, politically, I found all of them engaging.
Still, as Winer’s commenters allude to, Rather’s reaction to the collapse of the “60 Minutes II” Bush/National Guard/AWOL story demonstrates shortcomings that he would have to quickly get over were he to enter the Blogosphere. His smarts and experience will do him little good if he is going to be sloppy, arrogant, and thin-skinned.
The importance of the blogosphere is based upon the numbers of people involved to some degree. Having Rather would be a real plus. Even if his analysis is biased it is just a small part of the whole. He would also serve as a check against other bias. If we want accurate information and soundly reasoned commentary we need both sides represented.
Rather’s failure in the Bush story seemed more a result of arrogance caused by insulation. Couple that with being one of the big three newscasters and it’s no wonder it blew up on him. With awesome power comes awesome responsibility.
sloppy, arrogant, and thin-skinned
Don’t at least two of those three traits apply to most bloggers? LOL Present company excluded, of course.