Award-winning American journalist and former CBS News anchor Dan Rather discussed his life and career as a member of the "Big Three" news anchors in the U.S. He shared stories he has covered, his love for journalism, and what got him started. Rather described how reporting on Hurricane Carla in September 1961 led to his break into network television news with CBS, and admitted his profile was raised by being on scene in Dallas when JFK was assassinated. "It was an immense story that made a big difference in American history," Rather said, noting he was in a mild state of shock while reporting on the tragedy.
His career led him to the White House, where he was chief correspondent during President Johnson's administration, and to the war in Vietnam. George played audio from a March 1974 press conference in Houston where Rather and President Nixon exchanged a witty repartee. According to Rather, the noose was tightening around Nixon at this time as it came to light he had been leading a widespread conspiracy. He placed the Watergate scandal alongside the civil rights movement of Martin Luther King, Jr., the JFK assassination, and 9-11, as the most significant stories on which he has reported.
Rather commented on the fragmentation of today's news audience, and encouraged listeners to tune to multiple news sources even if some of them may have a different ideological or political slant. He suggested the days are numbered for evening network news programming, which has been slow to change with the times. "Nobody has come up with a business looking forward that will support the kind of journalism that we had in... the golden period of American news [1960-1990s]," he said.
Rather also spoke about his interviews with Saddam Hussein, whom he called a "stone cold killer" who wanted to destroy Israel, as well as his controversial report on George W. Bush's military service which ended his career at CBS News. "The story was true. We lost the battle for public opinion," he lamented, pointing out that neither Bush nor anyone in his circle has ever denied the two basic tenets of the report: 1) Bush served in a privileged unit of the Air National Guard, and 2) he disappeared from service for a year.
The second half of Friday's program featured Open Lines. Andrew in New York told George he and his fiancée observed a bizarre cloud formation in the sky which upon closer inspection appeared to be some kind of a portal. Andrew said the strange sight was memorable enough to photograph and post to his Facebook page. Millie from Kansas phoned into the show to share a frightening childhood experience. "In the middle of the night I was startled awake and I saw the man in black... he had his hands outstretched and he was coming toward me," she recalled, adding how her mother's prayer sent him away. As he was leaving he swiped everything off the dresser, Millie noted. Ron in St. Louis shared a theory about how certain frequencies and wavelengths can kill viruses. Ron also reported on a man who has supposedly built a machine which generates frequencies that can cure cancer.