Dan Rather departs CBS News
"Of all the famous names associated with CBS News, the biggest and brightest on the marquee are Murrow, Cronkite and Rather," said CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus. "With the utmost respect, we mark the extraordinary and singular role Dan has played in writing the script of not only CBS News, but of broadcast journalism."
Rather's departure had been widely expected for over a year; in March 2005, he left the network's nightly news bulletin for a correspondent role at the long-running newsmagazine 60 Minutes. It was, however, a piece that aired on the Wednesday edition of that programme in November 2004 that started the decline of Rather's position at CBS; he was the correspondent who presented a piece claiming that US President Bush received preferential treatment while serving in the Texas Air National Guard. That report was later discredited by an independent panel that concluded that CBS News had failed to follow basic principles of journalism in its research, and several people at the news division were sacked as a result. Some CBS News colleagues, including 60 Minutes' own Mike Wallace, later said publicly that Rather should have resigned over the debacle.
It is understood that CBS, having appointed Katie Couric from NBC's Today show as the new permanent anchor of its nightly news programme, is now keen to move on swiftly from the Rather era. The network is planning one primetime special looking back at Rather's career, to air sometime before his contract with the network ends in November.