July 13, 2006

Dan Rather mulling CBS lawsuit

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Former CBS News anchor Dan
Rather says he has considered filing a lawsuit against the
network where he had worked for 44 years.

Appearing Wednesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live,"
Rather paused after a question from King and then said he
wouldn't talk about whether he would file a lawsuit against
CBS. But he acknowledged, "I can't say that I've never thought
about it."

It wasn't clear from the interview what Rather considered
to be possible grounds for a lawsuit.

A CBS spokesman commented late Wednesday after the
interview, saying, "CBS believes that it has dealt with Dan's
departure in a completely fair, equitable and honest way, and
we wish him nothing but the best." CBS declined further

Rather said that he brought up several times while at CBS
that, after his departure from the anchor desk and assignment
as a "60 Minutes" correspondent, the network wasn't living up
to its end of his contract. CBS has said that with the many "60
Minutes" correspondents, there weren't enough assignments for

Rather said that he had never been told what led to his
departure from CBS. He said he wasn't sure whether it was
related to the aftermath of the "60 Minutes Wednesday" story on
President Bush's military career that relied in part on
unsubstantiated documents.

"They handled it in a curious way," Rather told King about
the circumstances surrounding his departure. "I wish I knew the
whole story, I wish I had an opportunity to say, 'Hey, what's
happening? It's Dan, you know me."'

He also said that he had never heard from the head of the
corporation or the head of the news division. Rather didn't
mention in Wednesday's interview that the day after CBS
announced he had left the network, he went to lunch with CBS
News president Sean McManus. McManus is said to have explained
to Rather that it was McManus's decision and that there wasn't
enough work on "60 Minutes" to suit Rather.

Rather wouldn't directly answer former colleague Mike
Wallace, who questioned his behavior after the "Memogate"
scandal that led to the firing of producer Mary Mapes and the
forced resignation of four other CBS employees. Wallace and
others, including several in the CBS old guard, said Rather
should have resigned.

"They have to answer for themselves for the times in the
past when things might not have gone right," Rather said.

As for the September 2004 "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on
President Bush, Rather said that CBS had been the victim of
forces that wanted to attack the weakest part of the story.

"Do I believe the truth of the story? Absolutely," Rather

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter