Cyberpunk Review » Dan Rather: Corporations, Government runs newsrooms.

September 23, 2007

Dan Rather: Corporations, Government runs newsrooms.

Sept. 20, 2007. Dan Rather is suing his former employers at CBS and Viacom (CBS’s former parent company) for $70M.

I know, it’s not something that would normaly be on the front of Cyberpunk Review, but what Dan Rather says about how the network “news” is being filtered and delivered to you…

Samantha Gross (Associated Press Writer):

Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.

“Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news,” he said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Rather cites the “discredited” 2004 story about Bush’s military service for making him a scapegoat, causing his removal from the CBS Evening News in 2005.


Sound familiar yet? One theme of cyberpunk is corporate control over society (see What is Cyberpunk?), and what better way to exercise that control than to inject propaganda into the evening news, displacing hard reality with brain-draining fluff about some pop-tart.

Ever wonder why the “news” seems dominated by the latest Britney Spears fuck-up while little to no negativity against the Bush administration is present? And why has the number of bloggers exploded, while traditional press and news outlets struggle to adopt the Internet’s abilities?


What’s the reality, Kenneth? Rather’s career has been historical, but also controversial at times, including an on-air confrontation with then Vice-President “Papa Bush.” Like father, like son; George Bush senior never gave Dan Rather another interview and junior has never been interviewed by him either. Ironically, it was Air National Guard documents that described junior Bush as “unfit” that began the end of Rather’s career. A Bush family vendetta against Mr. Rather? Quite possible…

But Rather’s beef goes beyond the Bush family; He also says that journalism has lost its guts:

Daniel Terdiman, Staff Writer, CNET

During his hour-long keynote address Monday at South by Southwest Interactive, Rather opined at length on the state of his profession, in which too many journalists have become lapdogs to power, rather than watchdogs.

Rather reiterated the journalist’s role as a watchdog.

“Not as an attack dog…But what does the lapdog do? He just crawls into someone’s lap,” he said. “A good watchdog barks at everything that’s suspicious. I submit to you, the American press’ role is to be a watchdog.”

Part of the problem, according to the the CNET article, is that journalists don’t want to rock the boat and risk confrontation with the power elite so as not to jeopardize their access to them… something even Rather admits to doing. Unfortunately, this leads to the journalist becoming a puppet of the elite. Another problem is the growing consolidation of media companies that causes newsrooms to be more interested in keeping shareholders happy than finding the truth.

While he sees traditional journalists as seduced by corporate (and government) interests, he also sees hope in the Internet’s blogosphere:

“The Internet is a tremendous tool for not just news, (because) its potential is unlimited for that,” Rather said, but for “illumination and opening things up.”

Rather responded that he sees a lot of potential in the Internet, and in the blogosphere in particular, but that he worries about anonymity on a lot of Web sites and blogs.

He said it’s very easy to attack someone when you don’t have to put your name to your complaints. He’s not sure how to strike the right balance between professional and citizen journalism, but he believes the market will eventually provide that solution.


A quest for the TRUTH… maybe. Reuters reports that Rather’s reason for the lawsuit isn’t about the money:

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter:

Instead, Rather said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that he wants to use the litigation to find out what really happened behind the scenes after his discredited report on President Bush’s military record aired on “60 Minutes II” in 2004.


If this lawsuit leads to a gov-corp-newsroom connection being exposed, it will confirm the extent of the ruling power’s influence in crating a virtual reality to keep the sheeple clueless and sedate. If not, we can file it a conspiracy theory, complete with whispers of corporate control of the newsrooms.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.


September 24, 2007

caprison said:

Never seeing negitivity about the Bush administration??? What TV are you watching… Icelandic National News? That is all I see, hear and read from our senators, representitives and news casters.

Here’s what i’m chalking up the Rather thing to.. an old newscaster that forgot to check his facts before going to air with lies. He was the managing editor. Not quite a scapegoat. More like the guy responsible for what goes to air.

Thanks for the intresting reading but I have to disagree with some of the opinions. Sorry.

Klaw said:

I think this is very interesting as journalism has been seriously hamstrung over the last 6-7 years, and I think this is very much a cyberpunk issue. I know 3 newspapers bought out and changed into generic “celebrity” newsrags when they had been for years alternative voices of dissent. And now? Stupidity incarnate. For anything that may fall under Rather being a suspect journalist, and he has on many occasions been a sensationalist… the fact he was ushered out of office upon accusing Bush of gerririgging his Vietnam service records is something to be a bit concerned about.

caprison said:

He is 75 years old. I think that has more to do with it than anything else mentioned.

In my opinion newspapers are being bought out because they are slowly turning into an obsolete media. I read them here and there but there are more efficent ways for me to get my information and I am sure there are others that agree.

Journalism being hamstrung? Where and When? I really havn’t seen it.

This is all about discussion. I do not mean to offend. Thanks.

September 27, 2007

Anonymous said:

I’m still reeling from reading this article, is this your politics or an actual news piece? Isn’t there better CP news to report on? Seriously Bush gets railed from all sides, and there sure is a corporate interest in what the masses see, but it ain’t from the Bushie world domination side.

September 29, 2007

Vesper_Dub said:

Great post, and I daresay this IS CP news. You don’t get one of the best people in the media speak openly against it in such a manner. This, gentlemen, might be the forerunner to a medialution ;-)

October 3, 2007

Styxer said:

Hello really cool webzite!

October 14, 2007

armin mauricw said:

This is definitely the case in many news broadcasts, when i compare news between CNN and BBC the entire message being sent is different. such as when an Israeli soldier was killed after he killed 7 Palestinian children, was seen as an “Israeli defender dying to protect his country” on CNN where on BBC it was a senseless crime which no-one was willing to do anything about. to really have an understanding of the issue one must look for different/outside views of all important news, if one does this the level of corruption is very easy to see.

November 6, 2007

NeoSunTzu said:

If the United States government were attempting to control the U.S. population via the media, then of course Icelandic news would exist under a different paradigm. Irrelevant.

NeoSunTzu said:

Excelent article. Evidence of our world coming to match the predictions and warnings of the cyberpunk genre.

November 11, 2007

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis said (pingback):

[…] Sound familiar yet? Just add the Internet and “every computer.” And it may not even be limited to domestic spying, either. There have been conspiracy theories linking the Secret Government to the assassinations John Kennedy and even Martin Luther King, Jr. If they have the capacity to assassinate or ruin foreign leaders, why not troublesome citizens. As for telling the truth, forget it. As long as they see “enemies” here and abroad, they are going to try to keep their secrets in the name of “national security,” including suppressing the TRUTH and crating a virtual reality for the media and news outlets to spew on the masses (ask Dan Rather). […]

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