Will CBS, Rather Survive Scandal?

People are predicting the end for CBS News (search) and Dan Rather (search).

The reason, of course, is the use of an apparent forgery to attack President Bush, followed by a denial that the document was a forgery, then an admission that maybe it was and finally an insistence that the network's charge of dereliction of duty on the part of President Bush during Vietnam was still true even if the document was a blatant phony.

People have talked about how Rather has had it in for the Bushes for years. He had a famous on air skirmish with Papa Bush during the 1992 campaign and people say he's never forgot it.

I don't know. But I do know that Dan Rather has weathered worse. Anybody remember, “What's the frequency, Kenneth?” Or Richard Nixon calling him out? Or the Gunga Dan phase when he pretended to be a Mooj fighter crossing the Kyber Pass into Soviet-held Afghanistan?

He's 72 years old and, at CBS, that's young. So he hasn't let the calendar chase him off. He's got a couple colleagues in their late 80s and nobody seems to be showing them the door.

So he got had with a phony document? So what? You know how often news organizations make a mistake? Even a big public one?

Sure, it's embarrassing, but much as you might like it, I don't think this dust up is the end of Rather. It's the end of big networks monopolizing what information people get and what people conclude about world events. That much is true. Rather will still be on the air, but he may conclude it's time to go anyway. That's because he may not have the stomach for watching us here at fox beat him on big important stories.

The phony document may not chase him off. But the new reality just might.