Legendary Broadcast Journalist
May 4, 2015 – Monday, 8pm
For more than 40 years, former CBS News anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent Dan Rather has been the embodiment of the intrepid broadcast journalist. From the Kennedy assassination — where he was the first to break the news that the president had been killed — to the Indian Ocean tsunami, he has covered every major story of our time, with distinction and a fierce dedication to hard news. For his unparalleled devotion to his craft, he was named the 2012 recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Rather’s reporting skills are legendary, and his single-minded pursuit of the story has taken him to datelines as far ranging as Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, China, Russia, and Cuba. He has served as a correspondent during the Vietnam War, the Mujahideen uprising against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the first and second Iraq wars. He was among the first western journalists to report on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the last reporter on the air when the Chinese Army moved in with force. He has interviewed Mikhail Gorbachev in Red Square, and Fidel Castro in Havana.
On the domestic front, Rather has covered every presidential campaign since 1952. He was White House correspondent for CBS News during the administrations of Presidents Johnson and Nixon, and was a leading force in broadcast news investigation of the Watergate scandal. During the 1960s, as chief of CBS’ Southwest Bureau, Rather reported from the flashpoints of the Civil Rights struggle in the South.
Rather has brought his experience to bear on the biggest stories of recent years. On September 11, 2001, Rather stayed on the air for 18 hours straight to bring Americans news of the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In the days and weeks that followed, he became the first journalist to report from underneath "The Pile" at Ground Zero and his appearance on David Letterman’s first post-9/11 broadcast has been credited as a touchstone for American sentiment during those difficult days.
During the American-led fight against the Taliban, Rather returned to Afghanistan several times. The first American network anchor to report from Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, Rather in 2004 broke the shocking story of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses — for which he was recognized in 2005 with prestigious Peabody and Sigma Delta Chi Awards. In 2011, he received the CPJ Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for his work as an original supporter in defending independent reporting. These plaudits are but the latest in a career’s work that has earned him several Emmys and just about every honor there is in broadcast journalism.
Rather’s latest journalistic venture is the hard-edged news show Dan Rather Reports, broadcasted on AXS TV, on which he acts as both host and managing editor. With his renowned in-depth interviews and his love of investigative reporting, Rather is able to accurately report on major issues facing our nation today. From politics and the global economy to international affairs and the environment, he gives each story the time and commitment that it deserves. In May 2012 his memoir, Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News, was published.
A native son of Texas, Dan Rather is well-known for his colorful speaking style and the home-spun "Ratherisms" that he has used with greatest exuberance in his election coverage. During the wee hours of the 2000 Election Night marathon, Rather commented that "We don’t know whether to wind the watch or howl at the moon," after noting earlier that "[Vice President Al] Gore’s got his back to the wall with his shirttails on fire in Florida." Rather is also a prolific author, having written, co-written, or contributed to several books.
As a speaker, few can match the authority, experience, and perspective Dan Rather offers on world events and the passion he displays in defense of journalism.