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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Rather Ghost Talk

Some snips, needs no further comment:

It was a given that Rather had long since devolved into something of a jokey caricature, what with his homespun wisdom, his pomp-rich demeanor, his windbag-y tendencies and his overall weirdness.

Of course, the guy has always been a little bit out there. There was his decision to sign off his newscast with the word "Courage" for no apparent reason three times during a single week in 1985 as well as the bizarre 1986 incident in which Rather was roughed up by attackers who reportedly asked, "Kenneth, what is the frequency?" -- a line later immortalized in an R.E.M. tune.

It also didn't take much to prompt certain peculiarities to exit Rather's lips, such as during my interview with him last year.

Describing his love of CBS and CBS News, Rather observed in the interview last year: "In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions. Now, it may be that this kingdom exists only in our minds. But that makes it no less real for those of us who live it every day."

And then there was this: "Ed Murrow's ghost is here. I've seen him and talked to him on the third floor of this building many times late at night. And I can tell you that he's watching over us."