03. January 2005 · Comments Off on Mending Fences, Burning Bridges · Categories: Politics, That's Entertainment!

This from RatherBiased.com:

–Earlier today, Broadcasting and Cable magazine reported, based on anonymous sources, that CBS News president Andrew Heyward and Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner met with the White House to try and persuade it that CBS News and Dan Rather don’t hate the Bush Administration. Since the B&C site is down from a Drudge link right now, we’re reprinting the article in this email and also hosting it on our site at the address above until things calm down.

Stay tuned for later today as we try and confirm whether or not a meeting took place and dismantle CBS’s claim that Dan Rather doesn’t have a grudge against Bush 43 and 41. Also, see below for additional context.

The following article was printed by Broadcasting and Cable magazine earlier today. Since they’re swamped by Drudge hits right now, we’re reprinting it with minor corrections until things calm down. Read on for additional context if you’ve already seen the B&C report.

Let the fence-mending begin. According to a Broadcasting & Cable source in Washington, D.C., CBS News president Andrew Heyward, along with Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, recently met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, in part to repair chilly relations with the Bush administration.

CBS News’s popularity at the White House-never high to begin with-plunged further in the wake of Dan Rather’s discredited “60 Minutes [Wednesday]” story on George Bush’s [Air] National Guard service.

An incentive for making nice is the impending report from the two-member panel investigating CBS’s use of now-infamous documents for the ’60 Minutes’ piece.

Heyward was “working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor Rather had a vendetta against the White House,” our source says, “and from here on out would do everything it could to be fair and balanced.” CBS declined to comment.

More than likely, one of the most prominent topics at the alleged meeting was some CBS begging to let Dan Rather, who has been banned from the Bush White House, interview President Bush before the older Texan retires from the CBS News anchor desk.

Though he has pursued a somewhat different policy agenda from his father, George W. Bush in many ways borrows much from George H. W. Bush in his treatment of the media, particularly of reporters that they know to be adversarial toward the administration. The Bush family has still never forgiven Rather for his 1988 attack interview with the 41st president.

B&C’s report about Memogate souring White House-CBS relations is also backed up by this report from the campaign 2004 book just put out by Newsweek magazine:

Bush seemed to be enjoying the discomfiture of Dan Rather and CBS over the phony documents. At a press conference in mid-September with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Bush called out, “Is anybody here from CBS?” He sounded more needling than gracious.

His father had been worrying. The elder Bush’s ulcers had been acting up. Bush senior had watched the “60 Minutes” “scoop” with rising indignation. He disliked the “60 Minutes II” [sic] anchorman, Dan Rather, who had staged a hostile confrontation with the then Vice President Bush in an interview during the 1988 campaign. George H. W. Bush was by and large an optimist and a forgiving man. But he nurtured long grudges against certain reporters, and Rather was one of them. Lately Bush senior had been keeping a sleeve of saltine crackers on his desk to tamp down his bile. He would munch on the crackers as he watched the talking heads and the evening news, his stomach churning.

Oh, this is almost as much fun as international diplomacy

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