Captain Ed deconstructs Bill O'Reilly's recent editorial defending Dan Rather here. O'Reilly sometimes gives the impression of a man who takes bizarre positions simply to make himself noticed. The utter vacuity of his defense of Rather leaves little room for any other conclusion. Excerpts from O'Reilly are in italics:
Viewpoint would add only this: In stating that "Dan Rather is [only] guilty of not being skeptical enough about a story that was politically loaded" O'Reilly demonstrates a marvelous facility for missing the point. The problem with Rather's use of fraudulent documents wasn't his lack of skepticism so much as the reason for that lack. Why did Rather suspend his skepticism? Why did he run with these documents even after having been cautioned against it? The only answer that makes any sense isn't very flattering. Rather wanted so badly to crucify George Bush that he threw caution to the wind, believed what he most earnestly wanted to be the truth about the memos, and then refused to face the facts when they became so apparent that only an obsessed partisan zealot could have failed to see it.
It's this reckless betrayal of journalistic standards in Rather's Ahab-like pursuit of the President that makes his conduct so reprehensible. For O'Reilly to be unable to see this strikes us as peculiar. Might he have been using the treatment Rather received over this affair as a surrogate for the treatment he feels he unjustly received when the sexual harassment suit was filed against him? Just wondering.