If embattled CBS News anchorman Dan Rather were a contestant on "The Apprentice," Donald Trump would say to him, "You're Fired!"
After The Donald fired "Apprentice" wannabe Bradford Cohen for giving up his precious immunity in the board room last week — something Trump described as a "stupid thing to do" — I began to wonder what would happen if Rather were a contestant on the reality show, in light of "Rathergate."
So I called Trump's office and asked his assistant to kindly pass on my question.
Surprisingly, Trump — the biggest real estate developer in the world and now the biggest star on television — returned the call himself.
"Hello Michael, Donald Trump returning your call," he said. "Yes, I would fire Dan Rather. Thanks, bye. By the way, I love the Grrr! column." CLICK.
(I added that last part, but click the link below to listen to the message).
Trump knows what he's talking about. He knows that the marketing, promotion and reputation of "The Brand" is the single most important thing any company has going for it. Employee hires, business decisions and public relations moves are all geared toward making "The Brand" stand out with integrity and be consistent with the company's mission.
By vehemently standing by his "60 Minutes" story for more than a week, despite mounting evidence that forged Air National Guard documents were used as a "smoking gun" to make President Bush look bad in this election year, Rather selfishly put himself in front of the CBS News brand.
That brand is now severely damaged.
Turn-About Is Fair Play
That's why CBS and parent company Viacom should follow Trump's lead and say to Rather, "You're Fired!"
After all, wasn't it Dan Rather and his agent who forced the venerable Walter Cronkite into early retirement in 1981?
According to the late ABC News and Sports president Roone Arledge's autobiography "Roone: A Memoir," Rather used ABC as a negotiating chip to force CBS's hand to install him as the anchor of CBS Evening News six months earlier than Cronkite had planned to retire. This was at a time when Cronkite was considered the most trusted man in America.
"What startled me most though, in scrambling to get Rather, CBS had pressured Cronkite into stepping aside six months in advance of his scheduled retirement," Arledge wrote.
Arledge went on to write that Rather got a two-fer in the deal: Not only did Cronkite retire, but esteemed CBS Washington reporter Roger Mudd — who had been rumored to be next in line for the anchor seat — quit in a huff after hearing Rather got the job.
Rather's Bias Finally Caught Up With Him ... Grrr!
Like former president Bill Clinton — who soiled his legacy after a disastrous affair with a White House intern — the 72-year-old Rather has probably destroyed his own legacy by making such a blunder in the twilight of what should have been remembered as one of the greatest broadcast news careers in the history of television.
What a Grrring shame. Hopefully the latest statement from CBS News president Andrew Heyward will help dig Rather from this ditch.
What Goes Through the Mind of a Polignorant ... Grrr!
"I'm not going to vote for President Bush because I saw a report on '60 Minutes' saying his commanding officers 'sugar-coated' his performance."
"I'm not voting for John Kerry because I saw ads by the 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' saying Kerry did not deserve his purple hearts."
"My name is Ralph Nader and I'm running for president."
"I won't vote at all because I don't like any of my choices."
"I don't need to vote because my state will vote overwhelmingly for my candidate of choice, so my vote won't count anyway."
"I won't vote because I'm not represented by any candidate."
Oblivion E-mails ... Grrr!
Every week Grrr! readers send me their Grrrs for inclusion in the column. Mostly, the e-mails are pretty good, describing the daily occurrences that make you go Grrr! But every once in a while, I recognize that some of the e-mails I get are coming from Oblivions themselves. The really funny part is — according to the definition of Oblivion in the Grrr! Lexicon — part of being an Oblivion is the inability to ever see the Oblivion in one's self.
So, every week I will be including one of these Oblivion e-mails, and you can decide which one it is. Happy hunting, and happy Grrr'ing.
Now For Your Grrrs
Michaela in Tenn.: Grrr! to the jerk who stole my yellow "Support Our Troops" magnetic ribbon that I had placed on the back bumper of my car to show support for my husband, a Marine reservist deployed near Fallujah, Iraq. Are you so poor that you can't afford to buy your own [ribbon] for a couple of dollars, or are you a self-righteous Oblivion? Whatever. Just keep your hands off of my car.
Anthony M. in cyber-space: I agree with you that decisions like [teachers switching from red ink to purple ink when grading papers] seem like sheer nonsense (last column), but to your comment that schools should stop 'coddling the kids', I will tell you this. I went to my son's back-to-school night (he's in middle school in Montgomery County Md., just outside of D.C.), and they aren't coddling anyone. The workload these kids have today, I promise you, is far, far more demanding than what we had when we were growing up. I was thinking to myself last night that most adults would have trouble staying organized and keeping up with the work these kids are given. I honestly don't know that I had that much work in graduate school.
Maria Miller in cyber-space: To the woman who gets "bothered" by ogling, there are worse things in life. Get over it. When did we become so sensitive — especially with something so harmless? Perhaps you should buy clothes that include more fabric? It will be a sad day when men stop ogling me!
-- Maria... pictures? LOL
Michelle in Ind.: I was at Rally's and my 7-year-old son wanted to hand the guy the money so we went through the drive-thru with the window on the passenger side of the car. My son rolled his window down (which, of course, is designed to go only half way down for safety) and handed the money out. After waiting an extraordinarily long time for our three sandwiches, the guy at the window decided to compensate us for our wait by giving us a free large order of fries which filled the bag to the very top. The guy tipped our bag to fit through the half-opened window, dumping the flaming hot fries onto my son's face, neck and down his shirt. It was a nice thought, but not burning my son's face off would have been better.
Nathen Fritzsche in cyber-space: I am tired of hearing about George Bush's military record. He didn't go toVietnam, Kerry disgraced his Vietnam service, let's look at the bigger picture here....It happened 30 years ago! Can't they just agree to disagree and move on to issues that aren't 30 years old? I'm 23 years old: How about each candidate comes up with a plan for social security and Medicare to be around when I retire, and I'll vote for whichever makes more sense.
Bruce French in Oklahoma: Man, Mike! Have you studied the life and times of Oklahoma's Favorite Son, Will Rogers? He would love your column. Rogers summed it up best when he said, "The only problem with common sense is that it's not very common." Keep on crankin' it out. Maybe someday the "dontgetits" will get it — probably not, though.
Ben Huerta on KICKSTART: I just wanted to say I can bear witness to the effects of the KICKSTART program. I grew up in the Galveston, Texas area and, as a kid, I saw first hand the effects of the program. Many of my cousins and friends who lived in the project area of Galveston so lovingly referred to as "tha jungle" were able to attend the program. I can remember the happiness on those kids' faces when they would get to meet Mr. [Chuck] Norris. It was a real morale booster for many of them. Their home life was worse than sub par and the streets were fatal. Some never survived to adulthood and some went down the wrong paths in life, but I can say that Chuck Norris and KICKSTART brought joy and confidence, and even a futures, to many children of the Wards of Galveston.
Dories J. in Olathe, Colo.: Chuck Norris has always been a hero. His work with underprivileged kids, all kids really, should inspire other celebrities, but they don't like Chuck. He's a Republican and a Christian. A real no in Hollywood. Fortunately, he does not pay any attention to them.
Three cheers for Chuck!
Darren in cyber-space: I love 'The Apprentice' as well, but is there a reason that every reality show has to use the EXACT same format? Let's see... Show an argument, then play an interview of the two people in question, and then show one of the cast being a total screw up, then plan the interview scene again, only this time it's all the cast ragging the screw up. Man, isn't there anyone working for the networks that has an original idea? Grrr!
Mark Guest writes about the left-handed bowler comment 2 columns ago: Thank you for posting the letter of an Obliviot so we could see a prime example. Charly Nash has obviously never been to a bowling alley, nor has he ever watched the sport on TV. On the bowling lanes there is this stuff we call 'oil' that makes the lanes slippery. This oil helps the ball move and while doing said task, gets pushed aside by the ball in what we shall call 'tracks.' Now these tracks become dry and the ball does not slip on these tracks as easily as if there was oil there. Since left handed bowlers are few and far between, most people end up using the right track causing it to dry up. If the opponent is left handed, these tracks do not dry up as easily and as such change the strategy employed.
The Cutting Room Floor
In addition to Donald Trump's voicemail message, my FOX Magazine interview with Chuck Norris can be accessed by clicking the video link next to the photos above. Norris's autobiography "My Story" is out in bookstores now.
Until Next Week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects and columnist for FOXNews.com and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine." He was also in the movie "Analyze This," and has appeared in various commercials, theater and TV roles.