On Wednesday night, former CBS News anchorman Dan Rather, who resigned after he infamously ran a hit piece on former President George W. Bush that used forged documents, tweeted a mocking attack on the anti-Biden meme, “Let’s Go Brandon,” triggering a flood of responses on social media reminding him of his own history.
Rather tweeted, “#LetsGoBrandonReallyMeans ‘You can’t handle the truth.’”
#LetsGoBrandonReallyMeans “You can’t handle the truth.”
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 30, 2021
That catalyzed responses like these:
Speaking of not being able to handle the truth, aren’t you the “journalist” who presented unauthenticated documents in a news report on President George W. Bush’s Vietnam War–era service in the National Guard, and was abruptly fired for it?#TruthHurts #LetsGoBrandon https://t.co/vnRoY2dNPx
— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) December 30, 2021
The man knows nothing of the truth https://t.co/d10xz4s2kl
— Justin Barclay (@MrJustinBarclay) December 30, 2021
Didn’t you get fired for lying on television?
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) December 30, 2021
— Chad Felix Greene 🇮🇱 (@chadfelixg) December 30, 2021
The Media Research Center gave a summary of the scandal that ended with Rather’s resignation:
On September 8, 2004, Dan Rather cited “exclusive information, including documents” to justify major CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes stories alleging that George W. Bush shirked his duties when he was in the Texas Air National Guard in the 1960s and 1970s. Within a few hours of those documents being posted on CBS News’ Web site, however, typography experts voiced skepticism that the documents had actually originated with their alleged author and Bush’s former commanding officer, the late Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian.
As the evidence mounted, Rather stubbornly clung to the idea that his story was bulletproof, and he derided critics as partisans and Internet rumormongers. When he “apologized” on September 20, Rather would not concede that the documents were forgeries, only that he and CBS could “no longer vouch for their authenticity.” On November 23, 2004, CBS announced that Rather would soon be leaving his job as anchor of the CBS Evening News. An investigative report released on January 10, 2005 faulted CBS’s rush to put the flawed story on the air and their “stubborn” defense in the days that followed, but oddly decided that they could not blame partisan bias.
In May 2001, Rather appeared on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, where he insisted former President Bill Clinton was an honest man, leading to this exchange:
Bill O’Reilly: “I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?”
Dan Rather: “Yes, I think he’s an honest man.”
O’Reilly: “Do you, really?”
Rather: “I do.”
O’Reilly: “Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?”
Rather: “Who among us has not lied about something?”
Rather later added, “I think at core he’s an honest person. I know that you have a different view. I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”
Appearing on the Feb. 7, 2002 Imus in the Morning radio show, Rather doubled down: “I think the fact that someone has told a lie, even a big lie or maybe several big lies over a lifetime, does not mean that they’re an inherently dishonest person….I believe in redemption and that Bill Clinton – is he an honest person? I think he is an honest person. Did he lie? Yes, he lied, and on those occasions he was dishonest.”
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