‘Journalism is under attack’ Dan Rather says


By Anna Bolton - adewine@civitasmedia.com



After Rather’s lecture, the journalist listened to questions from the audience.


In a media visit prior to the lecture, Rather spoke of the changing country and the media’s role in it.


Anna Bolton | Greene County News Broadcast journalist Dan Rather spoke at Wright State University Jan. 31.


Rather’s lecture was part of the WSU Presidential Lecture Series titled “Democracy, Politics and You.”


A self-proclaimed optimist, Rather spoke of America’s resilience in midst of change.


FAIRBORN — Broadcast journalist Dan Rather gave a lecture at Wright State University Jan. 31 — hitting on topics like journalism today, a changing America, and the Trump administration.

But, throughout his remarks, the message remained the same: “Steady. Steady.”

Rather’s visit came as a part of the university’s Presidential Lecture Series, “Democracy, Politics and You.”

WSU President David Hopkins, in his welcoming remarks, described Rather as someone who “literally gets in the trenches to uncover the real story, and presents those facts to you with compassion, dignity and humanity.”

The award-winning journalist has earned more than 50 years in the field — as an anchor for CBS Evening News, a correspondent for 60 Minutes, and now the CEO and president of News and Guts.

Of America, Rather spoke of “an ache for change.”

“There is a certain feeling of unease that the country is changing too quickly and too chaotically in terms of who we are as a people,” Rather said during his remarks. “This time is not a normal time but this is the new normal.”

Rather hit this topic during a media visit prior to the lecture, too. But in each moment he expressed concern — he followed with optimism.

“I hear people saying all the time, ‘I’m scared’ — and I will say, ‘Fright is not in American character.’ We’re not a people who are to be scared,” Rather said.

With concern, and optimism, Rather also offered lessons — to journalists and all citizens alike.

He advised the crowd of listeners to value gratitude, modesty and humility, and to always keep a sense of humour.

But mostly, he spoke of patriotism.

“We, the American people, should never underestimate what a big, continental, complex country we have — with such a diverse population. And that the genius of our system of government’s checks and balances endures … ” Rather said. ” … We have a whole interwoven web of checks and balances — one of those is of course a free and independent press. A truly free and independent — fiercely independent — necessary press is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy.”

Rather stressed the importance of a free press, one that is “under attack” today.

“As journalists, we’re in the fight of our professional lives,” Rather said. “Most recently, the media moved into a post-truth political era in which we’re asked to believe facts that aren’t facts, called ‘alternate facts’ … Facts are facts. Two plus two equals four. Two plus two equals five is a kind of alternate fact … Water does not run up hill … When you’re dead you’re dead. That’s a fact.”

On the topic of President Donald Trump, Rather said that he’s simply unlike any president he’s covered in his lifetime, that he’s “unique”.

“We’ve never had a president who had zero, no experience in public service,” Rather said, noting that that was neither a political nor ideological statement.

Throughout, Rather consistently turned to one word.

“Anybody else who asks — [I say] ‘Steady, steady. We’ll be alright.’ It may take a while, it may take a long while, but we’ll be alright.”

After Rather’s lecture, the journalist listened to questions from the audience.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/02/web1_Rather1.jpgAfter Rather’s lecture, the journalist listened to questions from the audience.

In a media visit prior to the lecture, Rather spoke of the changing country and the media’s role in it.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/02/web1_Rather2.jpgIn a media visit prior to the lecture, Rather spoke of the changing country and the media’s role in it.

Anna Bolton | Greene County News Broadcast journalist Dan Rather spoke at Wright State University Jan. 31.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/02/web1_Rather3.jpgAnna Bolton | Greene County News Broadcast journalist Dan Rather spoke at Wright State University Jan. 31.

Rather’s lecture was part of the WSU Presidential Lecture Series titled “Democracy, Politics and You.”
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/02/web1_Rather4.jpgRather’s lecture was part of the WSU Presidential Lecture Series titled “Democracy, Politics and You.”

A self-proclaimed optimist, Rather spoke of America’s resilience in midst of change.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/02/web1_Rather5.jpgA self-proclaimed optimist, Rather spoke of America’s resilience in midst of change.

By Anna Bolton

adewine@civitasmedia.com

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.