A Rather Sad Ending For Dan

The New York Court of Appeals today issued its decision denying Dan Rather’s appeal from the dismissal of his civil case. In light of the fact his case was pled and litigated under New York state law in state courts, this is, sadly, likely the last act in the play.

Dan Rather’s personal statement on the decision:

Naturally I am disappointed in today’s ruling because we know it is a grave miscarriage of justice.

Most of all I am disappointed that no court or jury studied the evidence and heard the actual facts of the case. The case was dismissed on purely technical grounds.

My mission continues to be working to ensure that the media can gather and report news unfettered by the influence of government and major corporate interests.

Dan Rather

This stems from a decision by the New York Appellate Division last September, specifically September 29, 2009. It was a horrible decision on a number of grounds, a copy attached here, but it was decided 5-0 by the Appellate Division which made the odds of the Court of Appeals granting the request to appeal slim.

Under New York state law and procedure, you need permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals from a unanimous Appellate Division decision. Either the Appellate Division has to give permission or Court of Appeals has to give permission; but there was no appeal as of a matter of right for Dan, and the Court of Appeals refused his request.

The decision last September by the Appellate Division was horrid and truly questionable legally, at least in my opinion, notably in the way it cut off the very discovery that could, and would, have provided the basis to overcome the deficiencies the court focused on. In essence, the appellate court prevented Rather from demonstrating his case, and then dismissed it because he had not demonstrated his case. Irrespective of that, however, the decision stands and Dan Rather appears unjustifiably done. Courage Dan!

  1. solerso says:

    one of the worst parts of this is as rather says, so much of the truth of it will never come out. not only in court, but as a final insult rather would probably be vulnerable to libel charges for talking about details of what happened.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Well, if Rather would be sued for libel, that would be a NEW case, right?

      Wouldn’t that open up an avenue for discovery ,allowing him present discovery in his OWN defense?

      Maybe talking about the details wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

  2. kells1001 says:

    In the course of Human Events judges got tired of hearing cases which they had already decided a verdict especially those which might undermine the establishment.

  3. fatster says:

    Here are three O/Ts on recurring topics of interest around these parts. Hope they aren’t dupes.

    Terror Conspirator Padilla Appeals Conviction
    Terror conspirator Padilla asks Ga. federal panel to toss out conviction



    Editor [The Nation] suggests group Liz Cheney fronts is bogus



    Iraq invasion in 2003 was illegitimate: Dutch probe


  4. veracity says:

    Sad to say, Dan Rather brought his problems down on himself… by running that “Bush AWOL from Texas Air National Guard DURING VIETNAM WAR” story…. WELL AFTER election 2000 was over. IF he had run that story – even a BRIEF run at it, using information widely available elsewhere (eg. Molly Ivins’ book, “Shrub, the Fortunate Life of Texas Governor George W. Bush”) IT MIGHT HAVE HAD A (big!) IMPACT in Election ’00, and Rather might have been a HERO.
    Instead, Rather did his Journalistic “due diligence” bit LONG after serial traitor Dick Cheney was once again well infested, er, invested in the power & protection of the ENTIRE US IMPERIAL government.

    IF Rather wants to get his revenge, he should write A BOOK – not on Bush’s Dereliction of Duty, but On DICK CHENEY’S SERIAL TREASON.

    Even if Cheney didn’t have anything to do with Bush-I’s 1980 “October Suprise” treaion, all through the late 1980s, #1. Cheney (as Bush I’s secretary of Defense) AUTHORIZED ILLEGAL ARMS SALES to Saddam Hussein;
    #2. after Gulf War-1 put a crimp on Saddam’s WMD program, Cheney moved from Secretary Defense to Halliburton Chairman & CEO… where he used Halliburton’s European subsidiaries to RESUME SALES TO SADDAM in late 1990s, BEHIND THE BACK of the US EMBARGO on Iraq – at ONE BILLION in cost to US taxpayers!
    (note: this link & article, below, too, is a “too little, TOO LATE” story written after election 2000 , but it was originally written by the Neo-Con Washington Post, and there were stories about these illegal Halliburton-Iraq deals BEFORE election 2000)
    #3. Former Secretary of War Cheney CERTAINLY KNEW that Al Qaeda was planning major attacks on US targets in the long summer of 2000…. but as a PNAC “invade & occupy Iraq, NOW!” signer in June 1997, Cheney and the PNAC cabal were ALL HOPING for a major terrorist attack ON AMERICA, to GIVE THEM their precious “NEW PEARL HARBOR” EXCUSE to ATTACK IRAQ.
    (Here, Cheney purposely AVOIDED CIA Director George Tenet… making a PERSONAL VISIT TO THE Bush-Cheney White House,on __JULY 10, 2001__, to WARN President Bush about the LOOMING Al Qaeda TERRORIST THREAT.
    This is of course in ADDITION to the more widely known August 6, CIA Presidential Daily Briefing “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in America.”
    A week later, then Attorney General Ashcroft got a PRIVATE CHARTER JET, to keep HIS precious heinie OUT of the line of fire, should terrorist hijackers attack a plane with the AG on it. The Cheney-PNAC crew LEFT US AIRCREWS & passengers EXPOSED TO THE KNOWN terror THREAT, like a goat tied down as bait for a tiger!
    #4. Those ANTHRAX ATTACKS on… US Senators… DEMOCRAT, ONLY senators!
    What self-respecting “A-rab” terrorist would target… Tom Daschle or Patrick Leahy’s offices?!
    #5. those nuke warheads that “went missing” from Barksdale AFB…
    Looks like SOMEONE with LOTS of DoD experience, was trying to make those Nukes “DISAPPEAR,” in the same way that DoD Comptroller Dov Zakheim had no clue as to where missing DoD _trillions_ of dollars went?!

    hope this helps!

  5. JohnLopresti says:

    Dan R’s thoroughness has made his court case a worthwhile after-the-fact endeavor. We can continue to benefit from his inspiration in our efforts in what some commenters have characterized as (approximately) ‘online opensource’ news gathering and analysis in the cyber dimension. I knew slightly one network senior executive producer who was fired in the swiftb-Tang fracas, now passed away from the intersects at crossroads in personal life. I look forward to reading into the Rather case’s latest court papers. I think Rather managed the incident with dignity. Happy new year to all hereabouts. J

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Hey stranger…!

      Just a quick driveby b/c this talks about the quality of media.
      Tweety (of all people!) hits one out of the ballbark today.

      Should link to a clip of Tweety pointing out that Matalin is a ‘communications strategist’, and that she, Guiliani, and Perino have now **all** said that 9-11 ‘didn’t happen on Bush’s watch’. They have systematically done this and gone into RepetitionMode.

      I think that Tweety actually has a better handle on what’s going on with this intentional meme than David Corn shows. Corn doesn’t seem to see premeditation; Tweety points to a deliberate, repetitive pattern.

      That’s exactly what Rather would have done, and does.
      Rather may have lost a lawsuit, but he’s become an inspiration.

  6. rhfactor says:

    That really is quite sad.

    I was never a fan of Dan Rather as Chief managing Editor at CBS News all those years. But I would never question his motives re getting at the truth of a story. He got burned so badly in that TANG setup. And his sudden fall from grace was, when you think about it, about as rapid as Tiger Woods’, just not salacious. I’ve never seen someone tossed to the curb so fast — a man who put a lifetime of work into his craft and at investigative journalism.

    One of his first news stories on the HDTV network was about the Boeing Dreamliner being unfit to fly. That was maybe 2 years ago. He was mocked again. Yet he was right about that too.

    Just pisses me off what we have of a justice system in America today. Every case seems to be handled upside down.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah I agree with all of that. I was not a huge Rather fan; didn’t dislike him or anything, but always respected him. But what went on here was all very wrong. The core TANG allegations have never been disproven in the least; in fact they seem very solid irrespective of the “kerning” red herring. He has gotten the shaft undeservedly.

  7. milly says:

    Dan Rather’s case reminds me of Don Seigleman’s. You have to surmise that our justice system in the US is totally shot.

    Fascism . Republicans and their supporters go free. Democrats and their supporters are found guilty whether they are or not.I a sick of it!

  8. reader says:

    Rather should get himself a legal co-author (or two) and write his story up as an imaginary trial transcript in the interests of getting his story out, providing an interesting exposition, and supporting his (and our) fight against entrenched corporate interests controlling our media.

    Bring back the FREE press!

    Surely he is only waiting for all the legal avenues are exhausted to write some sort of book.

    • bobschacht says:

      I hope you’re right about this.
      Rather might even spike his book with copies of some documents inviting a CBS slander suit, whereupon he can force everything out in the open. IANAL, so I don’t know if that would be a good legal strategy or not.

      Bob in AZ

    • qweryous says:

      That might be an interesting book, depending on the intent and content.

      Are there other stories that were not told at the time?

      While not a surprise, this ending is a disappointment.

  9. MartyDidier says:

    Dan, when my story surfaces I want you personally to be involved. Please keep me in mind.

    Marty Didier

    Northbrook, IL

      • MartyDidier says:

        Thanks for the reply, however….

        “It is too cryptic for me to get” implies something else and with what I wrote, it doesn’t apply. Maybe what you’re asking needs further explanation…. However, if you’re actually Dan, be assured that something is coming up that you don’t know about and I will want your help. You’ll be thoroughly pleased you made the effort!

        If you want to talk to me look me up on facebook and send me a message!

        Marty Didier

        Northbrook, IL

  10. davidgmills says:

    More and more cases seem to be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

    This is such a bad trend. Often it is discovery that leads to the best, most viable, cause of action.

    If Rather’s lawyers can’t beat a motion to dismiss, you wonder who can.

    • bmaz says:

      Interestingly, he DID beat it in the trial court; it is just that the Appellate Division substituted their judgement and, at least by my analysis, really contorted to do so. The Appellate Division decision is linked in the post if you have not read it. It is pretty much a piece of work.

  11. robspierre says:

    It is doubly sad, because G. W. Bush clearly deserted his post in time of war and then manipulated the record to hide the facts. I can recall no publicly cited evidence that in any way undermined the central case made in Rather’s reporting. The supposed evidence of forgery that was ballyhooed in the press was absolutely laughable.

    • rhfactor says:

      I can recall no publicly cited evidence that in any way undermined the central case made in Rather’s reporting. The supposed evidence of forgery that was ballyhooed in the press was absolutely laughable.

      It upsets me as much as it does you re the entire framework on the story being so skewed as to have the Conglomerate Media not even chasing a scrap of the validity of the core TANG reporting, but rather focusing in on serifs and, as bmaz observed, kerning, and whether or not the IBM Transposer was even around at the time of the alleged memos.

      But are you questioning the accuracy that Dan Rather was specifically set up via a trap layed by what had to have been a well coordinated GOP smear job using Right Wing Bloggers who knew all along the setup was intended to embarrass Rather and take all eyes off the substance of the reporting?

      This was an elaborately staged sequence of events even way more coordinated than the Mission Accomplished planned “TV Ad”, which included complex logistics of lighting and camera placement, and the turning around of the aircraft carrier so as to hide the truth of how close to shore it was — masking the mockery of Bush flying to it by helicopter.

      This was way more elaborate — to figure out the Sting, to create a convincing document that was almost the verbatim truth, but manufactured to entice Rather to use it, then feeding the construction method of the fake document to Right Wing blog, coaching them on how to break this as a story, busting Rather, and in the process killing the content of the story and creating a hero mythology from the vigilant Right Wing blogosphere, who could never have been smart enough to, on their own, deconstruct the typographic evidence that the docs were forgeries, thus imprinting the smear of Rather into public consciousness.

      The facts, as I recall, are that no one questions now, after the post-analysis was done, that these were forged documents. So I have to disagree with you — unless I am terribly misunderstanding what you meant. The travesty was the elaborate stage managed ploy to get Rather to take the bait, with no focus given in the post-event coverage to unwinding all the components that had to be planned and coordinated to even have gotten close to getting Rather to take that bait in the first place. The evidence proving the forgery, as far as I recall, was all true and accurate… Which illustrated how deeply this scam was plotted and carried out… but America was never given aim on this overarching story of the setup to kill a man’s career and majorly kill a story that was true about GWB and TANG.

      I’m still confused by your comment.

  12. bobschacht says:

    Just watched Rachel Maddow’s interview with David Boies & Ted Olson re: Prop 8—

    When they finish their Prop 8 gig, wouldn’t it be cool for them to take on one of the Constitutional issues cases that ACLU, EFF & others have been taking on against our Bushified Obama DOJ? I’m indulging in this fantasy because their Prop 8 gig is in support of common folks against a government intent on denying said common folks the rights enjoyed by most common folks. So why not combine their focus in support of common folks suffering from government Constitutional abuses?

    Of course, the danger might be that Holder might hire them to argue on behalf of the DOJ. I would hope that they would refuse any such offer.

    Bob in AZ

  13. bmaz says:

    Whether they were forgeries or not cannot be ascertained definitively either way because they were not original documents. No originals, no valid conclusion either way. Based on all my experience with questioned document examiners and forensic experts in other cases over the years, that is the bottom line. But this is really a red herring to start with, the pertinent question is was the information in the documents, irrespective of their provenance, true? From everything that can be ascertained, the answer is yes, it was. That was, and is, completely damning to Bush.

    • qweryous says:

      That is what he has apparently been immunized against by the actions that occurred here, discovery of the evidence of what actually happened. What happened back in the 1970’s, and what happened after the questions started to be asked after he “burst onto the political scene”.

      Not to make light of what occurred, but perhaps a real illustration of multidimensional chess.

  14. Leen says:

    “The case was dismissed on purely technical grounds.”

    Blackwater killers get off on “technical grounds” The Media hot shots get off based on “technical grounds” The peasants are watching.
    “no one is above the law” hogwash just complete hogwash

  15. Leen says:

    Bmaz “Under New York state law and procedure, you need permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals from a unanimous Appellate Division decision. Either the Appellate Division has to give permission or Court of Appeals has to give permission; but there was no appeal as of a matter of right for Dan, and the Court of Appeals refused his request.”

    How many people on the Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division? What is known about the people who made the decision to refuse the appeal? And is this generally the case that a request to appeal would be turned down by both groups?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, by my understanding it is common for it to be rejected when the Appellate Division ruling was unanimous, as it was here. I don’t know about the individual judges.

  16. Leen says:

    Bmaz do you know how much money has been spent by Rather in his fight for justice? Do you know how much the attorneys on the other side of this process have made fighting Rather’s charges?

  17. Gitcheegumee says:

    Daily Kos: Racists and dominionists, part 1: A troubling historyOct 9, 2006 … They helped his son, George W. Bush, avoid a certain court martial and prison time. … rehabilitation center in San Diego between May and November 1972. … The time Bush spent in religious rehab in San Diego represents …

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/9/111512/684 – Cached – Similar

    NOTE: This is a truly superior piece by dogemporer who has written MUCH on the Faimly and Christian Dominionists.