Dan Rather's long career and commitment to journalism have had a significant impact on the development of the American news industry. His dedication to telling the truth, no matter the cost, is a model of journalistic ethics. Dan Rather is illustrative of the best of American journalism because the ups and downs of his career mirror the difficult but vital job of the media in defending democracy.
Dan Rather has been a mainstay and influential figure in television news for almost 60 years. Rather personifies the qualities that make America's journalistic heritage unique and powerful through his unrelenting quest of the truth, profound humanistic perspective, and dedication to the profession.
Beginning his career in print, radio, and television news in Houston shortly after his birth in Wharton, Texas in 1931, Rather quickly rose through the ranks. His coverage of Hurricane Carla in 1961 propelled him to national prominence and caught the attention of CBS, where he went on to have a distinguished career.
Rather began his tenure at CBS News back in 1962. Through his in-depth coverage of pivotal moments like the Kennedy assassination, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War, he rose to prominence swiftly. His no-holds-barred approach changed the face of broadcast journalism forever.
Rather took over for the iconic Walter Cronkite as the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News in 1981, after having worked as a foreign correspondent and anchoring various documentary series. After 24 years in the role, he was widely regarded as one of the most reliable journalists in the United States.
During his time at CBS, he was known for always seeking the truth no matter how unpopular it was. The conclusion of the Cold War, the Gulf War, and the September 11 attacks are just a few of the major historical events he covered as a journalist in the 20th and early 21st century.
Rather's career was not without its share of controversy, but he was able to bounce back from each one. The "Rathergate" incident surrounding a 2004 report on President George W. Bush's military service was the most prominent. Rather left the CBS Evening News in 2005 as the story's supporting papers were called into question. In 2006, he abruptly quit CBS.
But Rather didn't want to let the smear campaign derail his career. From 2006 through 2013, he hosted "Dan Rather Reports" on HDNet, marking his comeback to journalism. Rather's unwavering dedication to journalism was on full display in the show's emphasis on in-depth reporting from the field.
In 2013, Rather made the move to internet journalism, anchoring "The Big Interview" on AXS TV and founding the News & Guts media organization, both of which bear testament to his legacy and influence. He maintains his role as a reliable news source by participating in online communities and interacting with younger audiences.
The impact of Rather's career is felt even beyond its termination. He has championed the role of a free press in a democratic society and served as a role model for many aspiring journalists. He is the recipient of many honors for his work, including Peabodys and Emmys.