Dan Rather Signs Off

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March 10 2005 8:44 PM

Dan Rather Signs Off

Today, bloggers are dissecting CBS anchorman Dan Rather's final address. They are also eyeing a Pentagon report about torture, and an ex-Marine's allegation that the United States faked the details of Saddam Hussein's capture.

Dan Rather signs off: Bloggers queue up to bid farewell to CBS anchor Dan Rather, whose final broadcast aired Wednesday night. Read a transcript of his sign-off here  and bilious diva Wonkette's live-blog  here. (A Moveable Beast,a blog kept by a Tennessee horsewoman, has a live-blog of Wonkette's live-blog.)

Proletariat-friendly Aaron Gallant suggests that Rather's farewell ("And, to each of you, courage") might be "a final jab at his many critics" and insists that the anchor "finished his career as he had begun it, remaining true to himself." Syracuse-based graduate student Josh Shear disagrees: "He said 'courage' to just about the entire world, person by person. Nice sentiment. Long-winded, boring, a little irritating, but then again, so was most of his 24-year anchor career." Chicago's wacky Iowahawk delivers a hard-boiled spoof: "The Big Snooze."

"I have a feeling that Rather's legacy will be mollycoddled by the liberal press, which will go medieval on the truth seekers who helped end his reign," writes Kevin Craveron Rathergate.  The blog promises not to "feast on Rather's corpse," and to keep questioning "the ocean of liberal media bias." Conservative clearinghouse Little Green Footballs claims that Rather's last broadcast included World Trade Center footage that hasn't been shown before. LGF asks, "How much footage is mainstream media hiding, in a misguided, arrogant attempt to protect America from itself?"

Reason's Nick Gillespie calls the declining importance of broadcast news "as much a sign of liberation from tyranny as the fall of the Berlin Wall." He writes in Hit&Run,"[L]et's pretty much forget [Rather]--and broadcast news--ever existed." Gillespie also links to the Evolution Control Committee's "Rocked by Rape," a song that mashes AC/DC riffs and Rather's reportage.

ReadSlate's Jack Shafer on Rather's retirement and more about Rather.

Inside torture: According to the New York Times, a Pentagon report "faults senior American officials for failing to establish clear interrogation policies for Iraq and Afghanistan" but "found that Pentagon officials and senior commanders were not directly responsible for the detainee abuses."

Seafaring conservative Captain Ed chides the Times for leading with "one case of failure" in which American soldiers detained everyone in an Afghan village for four days. He thinks the newspaper should have emphasized that Pentagon officials aren't guilty. Outside the Beltway's conservative James Joyner compares the Times' story with the Post's and concludes, "[T]he fact that WaPo found the report rather benign while the NYT focused on the negative demonstrates how complicated the findings are." He pronounces Guantanamo "a success" and asserts, "It's not as if tough interrogation doesn't produce results." Right-wing radio host Kevin McCullough believes that this report and the Abu Ghraib verdicts "should all but put the issue to rest."

"So once again, 'senior officials' are faulted for not doing their jobs but declared 'not directly responsible,' " writes Kathy at progressive Citizen's Rent. "When you don't do your job and as a result people under your supervision two, five, or ten levels down screw up, YOU ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE." Blogging from Idaho, The Unequivocal Notion's Chris asks, "Did anyone honestly believe that the report would have come out and indicted Rumsfeld as condoning or even ordering torture?" Referencing his own experience in the armed forces, he suggests that if U.S. troops torture people, then its enemies will not hesitate to torture U.S. troops. "[S]pecific tales of abuse should have remained classified and the report should only contain a general accounting of abuses. The inevetable outcome of the public airing of specific abuses will be to bolster the claims of terrorists that the fight against Coalition forces in Iraq is a just one," grumbles Bush-supporter My Pet Jawa.

Read more about the new torture report.

Hearth and hole: Nadim Abou Rabeh, an ex-Marine who claims to have helped capture Saddam Hussein, recently told a Saudi newspaper that a "military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well." Rabeh claims that Saddam was actually found in a house and offered "fierce resistance." Conservative The Dread Pundit Bluto writes, "Rabeh's story would be more credible if he weren't currently residing in Lebanon, and if the Dread Pundit Bluto hadn't personally talked to a member of the capture team (who had photos) about a month after the capture." Commenting on Libertarian Lew Rockwell's blog, a man who claims to have worked for the Saudi Press Agency writes, "If the Marine's account is true, then Saddam did fight back. Cannot possibly have that. The whole goal of the spider hole story was the same as all of the photos that 'leaked' out of Abu Ghuraib -- to humiliate and emasculate Arabs and make them accept their conquest and occupation by the United States."

Read more about Rabeh's allegations.

Have a question, comment, or suggestion for Today's Blogs? Email todaysblogs@slate.com.

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