Rather leaving CBS?

Dan Rather’s time at CBS, says an Associated Press report, might be drawing to a close. If true, it would be a sad end to his career. I don’t know if the Bush/National Guard story from 2004 is a factor, but Rather’s reputation has never really recovered. (For those who need a refresher, Ken Auletta’s New Yorker profile provides a cogent analysis of the fiasco.)

In the defense of network execs, if they are considering cutting Rather loose, it might be simply a numbers game. There are currently nine correspondents at 60 Minutes, and Mike Wallace’s impending departure is more than offset by the arrival of Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper. (Last year the reporters could be spread out a little more, but then “60 Minutes II” lost the ratings game to, well, “Lost”.) But firing someone via the media, as CBS seems to be doing here, is not the classy way to go. After 44 years, Rather deserves better.

Update: A New York Times story reports that Rather has been offered a job to host and produce a weekly news show on HDNet, a hi-def channel owned by Mark Cuban. Yes, that Mark Cuban, the millionaire motormouth and Dallas Mavericks owner. Rather definitely deserves better.

Update #2: Today (June 20) CBS formally announced Rather’s departure.

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