Lone Star: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Dan Rather [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dan Rather has been watched on television by millions for half a century; his remarkable career has covered and, in many ways, mirrored the turbulence of the last four decades. His reporting helped shape the world's perceptions of major events such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War, Watergate, 9/11, and the war in Iraq. To his fans and supporters, he is praised for his dedication to quality journalism and he is seen as the worthy heir to Edward R. Murrow. To his...
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Lone Star: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Dan Rather

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Overview

Dan Rather has been watched on television by millions for half a century; his remarkable career has covered and, in many ways, mirrored the turbulence of the last four decades. His reporting helped shape the world's perceptions of major events such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War, Watergate, 9/11, and the war in Iraq. To his fans and supporters, he is praised for his dedication to quality journalism and he is seen as the worthy heir to Edward R. Murrow. To his critics, he has pushed a liberal political agenda and his real life has belied his carefully crafted wholesome image. The question has puzzled millions for decades: who is the real Dan Rather?

Lone Star is the first biography to bring Dan Rather to life while examining the full scope and breadth of his impact on the world. In this book, longtime CBS News writer and producer Alan Weisman presents a fresh, balanced look at the controversial newsman who defeated overwhelming odds when he succeeded Walter Cronkite as CBS News anchorman and whose newscast was #1 for almost a decade but whose fall from grace was the swiftest and steepest in the history of television.

From Rather's childhood struggles and his formative years as a radio reporter in Texas through his rise up the ladder of the world's most prestigious broadcast news organization and his twenty-four years as the most powerful anchorman in television, Lone Star relates in compelling detail the successes, the failures, and the behind-the-scenes infighting. The author draws upon scores of revealing interviews with Rather's colleagues, including former CBS News presidents and current 60 Minutes correspondents as well as producers, writers, and television critics. He sheds new light on Rather's exchanges with President Nixon that forever branded him as anti-Establishment and anti-Republican; Rather's reports from Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and war-torn Somalia; his heated live interview with Vice President Bush on the Iran-Contra affair; the strange episodes in his personal life that seem to happen only to Rather; his disastrous on-air pairing with co-anchor Connie Chung; and the full story of the scandal that became known as Memogate and its impact on CBS News and broadcast journalism at large.

Lone Star is a remarkable biography: the riveting, unflinching, surprising, and true story of an amazing life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* Dan Rather refused to be interviewed for “Lone Star: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Dan Rather,” telling author Alan Weisman that “there's nothing in this for me.”
Not so. This short, pugnacious and highly entertaining biography thumps many of Rather's enemies, of which there is no shortage.
Weisman, a retired CBS News writer and producer, takes a brief look at Rather's rise from humble Texas stock. Rather grew up sickly but tough in the same Houston-area neighborhood that produced racing legend A.J. Foyt. His struggle with rheumatic fever led to one of his lifelong mottos: “Never stay down.”
Rather had a wolverine's tenacity from the start and sometimes got more credit than due, as when Walter Cronkite hailed him for first reporting JFK's death from Parkland Hospital when in fact Robert Pierpoint was the man on the scene. Cronkite was not destined to remain a Rather fan.
Cronkite, by Weisman's acerbic telling, is an arrogant blowhard "who still believes that the anchor chair should have been retired with him in 1981." According to Weisman, Cronkite piled on Rather during the “Memogate” scandal, which in Weisman's reading was a fairly minor error that sparked a gross overreaction.
Weisman spends lots of ink thumping journalistic deities who, in the words of Bill O'Reilly, “slimed” Rather.
Off to Alcatraz
Former “60 Minutes” boss Don Hewitt is scorned for calling Rather a “coward” for not resigning following his disputed report on President George W. Bush's military service.
Weisman also notes that as the “Memogate” storm began brewing, Andrew Heyward railed that any guilty parties would be “phoning in from Alcatraz.” This, writes Weisman, “from the president of the News Division who had approved the story prior to air.”
CBS chief Les Moonves is another target. “Memogate,” Weisman says, provided Moonves with a convenient excuse to do what he wanted to do anyway: go younger.' Rather was 73 at his departure and, according to Weisman, Moonves wanted more young, smiley faces on the air.
The author doesn't give Rather a free pass, though.
This, after all, is the fellow of “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” fame who was also known for antic on-air observations such as, “This race is as hot and tight as a too- small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach.”
No wonder radio wiseguy Don Imus once said, “I want to be watching when he cracks.”
Disappearing Act
Rather also stoked his own legend by vanishing for almost six minutes during the start of his Sept. 11, 1987, newscast. Weisman wonders if he “left the set to make a point to his superiors”—that he was upset with the diminishing stature of the news division.
Even Rather's critics may sympathize with poor Dan, who was increasingly enveloped by a rising tide of fluff. That trend included the indignity of being paired as co-anchor with Connie Chung, who was better known for celebrity interviews than news gathering.
That relationship is wonderfully reflected in a Rather quip quoted by Weisman: “did on several occasions encourage her, not in a patronizing way, that to be really connected to the news you have to read more.”
Weisman's final chapter, titled “Edward R. Murrow is Dead,” is a whack at an era in which blow-dried news personalities report from their teleprompters. Former foreign correspondent Bert Quint notes that “there's no reason to believe that the person telling you the foreign story has been within 3,000 miles of where the story happened.”
Next up as CBS News anchor is Katie Couric. Former congressional correspondent Phil Jones tells Weisman that Couric is “a liberal Democrat who is so in love with Hillary Clinton” that it could pose a problem if Clint
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470364253
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/2/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

ALAN WEISMAN recently retired from CBS News after working as a writer and producer at the network for more than twenty-five years on news shows including 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, and the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. He has also worked for Charlie Rose and for Time Life. Weisman has been interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered and other national media.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Prologue.

1 Thanks for the Memories.

2 Never Stay Down and Never Quit.

3 From Big D to D.C. to the VC.

4 Nixon and Gunga Dan.

5 Life without Walter.

6 Seduced and Abandoned.

7 What Is the Frequency?

8 Live Fire.

9 Surviving.

10 Blinded by the Light.

11 Edward R. Murrow Is Dead.

Epilogue: Picking Up the Pieces.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Credits.

Index.

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