Appearing at the National Press Club, the former CBS News anchor said that bloggers today represent a "possible new form of journalism." Rather was questioned by veteran journalist Marvin Kalb as part of the ongoing Kalb Report series, hosted by George Washington University and Harvard's Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Here's how Shari Wolk of GW's Daily Colonial reports it:
"Kalb asked Rather whether or not bloggers were journalists. Rather acknowledged a transitional period in the media, and was hesitant to attach a definitive label. Presently, Rather considers the blogs a "possible new form of journalism," the viability of which depends on the writers' accountability by attaching their name to their work."
Asked about the national guard story of one year ago that spawned an internal probe, Rather "explained that the story's 'thermonuclear potential for reaction' were not recognized, and that he was 'remarkably unprepared for criticism,'" according to Wolk's account. Rather also "made it clear that CBS would not allow him" to pursue the story. Now there's a surprise. After the Thornburgh-Bocardi report, it's pretty clear why that would be the case.
In a lighter moment, Rather discussed the changing media landscape. Reminded that some 30 million viewers still tune into the network evening news broadcasts, Rather responded, "fifty million people watch that nymphomaniac housewives show." You gotta give credit where credit is due, he still has a very unique way with words.