Rather has labored in Walter Cronkite's shadow for more than 20 years, ever since the old man lumbered off into retirement. The problem isn't that Rather can't match Cronkite's gravitas (though he can't). The problem is that Rather can't duplicate Cronkite's magnificent ratings, which protected him from all sorts of unwanted intrusions. When Rather took over the anchor chair—and ratings dipped—CBS began to slash costs and push for Nielsen-boosting scoops.
"Old anchormen don't go away," Cronkite said on his final broadcast, "they keep coming back for more." When Rather quits—whether this week or at a moment of his own choosing—it will mark an enormous shift in American cultural life. For the first time in a generation, viewers will flip on Evening News, grab a snifter of brandy,and prepare to receive the day's stories from someone who isn't barking mad.
TODAY IN SLATE
Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial
Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment
A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently
Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.
How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.
Beautiful, sexy, and fascinatingly mean.