Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Rather Gets Fulsome Praise; Brokaw and Jennings Exemplify Poor Taste

A letter to the editor published in The New York Times praised Dan Rather so highly that it’s hard to believe the writer was sincere.

James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today went so far as to congratulate the apparent prankster: “Well, we admire a good prank as much as anyone. Congratulations to Davidman for gulling the Times' editors into publishing such an implausible letter.”

Here’s the conclusion of that letter:
I'll miss Mr. Rather's principled stands on issues like the eulogies for American service members killed in Iraq. That his popularity waned over the years shows, if we needed any directive, how poor taste has become dominant.

I will miss his courtly manner, his discernible humanness, the excitement of getting the unadorned story told by a reporter and journalist, not by just a reader of the news.

Considering the fact that the writer managed to include an insult directed at the news anchors of ABC and NBC — who have, for years, achieved higher viewership ratings than CBS News — it seems probable that Taranto is correct.

The writer was able to call Dan Rather “a bit Li'l Abnerlike” (that is to say, a yokel) and to attribute the higher ratings of Brokaw and Jennings to their viewers’ poor taste — and get the “Grey Lady” to publish the letter. That’s an amazing accomplishment.


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