Dan Rather On His Life In the News


Two weeks ago, I shared an interview that I did with legendary CBS anchor Dan Rather backstage before our onstage discussion.  Today’s post features the onstage interview.  Onstage we talked about a number of subjects ranging from the personal to the historical.  If you have the time to view it in its entirety, I’m sure you will enjoy it.  Because it is just over thirty minutes and you may not have the time to view it all, I decided to write the subjects we discussed with the approximate time.

If you only tune in for one subject, I suggest you watch Dan Rather give his perspective on Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King and how it impacted his life.  Here are a few highlights from that conversation:

“I find as a nation, as a people, as a society, we have a certain amount of amnesia.  Amnesia about what the reality of the civil rights situation was particularly for people of color….Covering Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement changed me as a person and as a pro….I grew up in a segregated society…if I’m this afraid…what must it be like to be of color and know this is happening down the street?”

Dan Rather understandably became very emotional as he recalled those events.  “To see people in power in city government turn high pressure fire hoses loose on children…I would not have believed people could do this, turn firehoses and vicious dogs on women and children.”   15:18


  1. developing a love of news early in his life
  2. starting a newspaper in elementary school.  1:40
  3. suffering rheumatic fever as a child and how it shaped him.  2:29
  4. talking about the importance of the library in influencing him 4:50
  5. discussing the small moments and how they changed his life
  6. developing his ad-libbing ability 7:30
  7. sharing how he benefited from learning journalism from the bottom up 8:31
  8. talking about one of the criteria that helped him succeed Walter Cronkite 9:20
  9. inventing modern day hurricane coverage 10:20
  10. meeting his journalist heroes his first day at CBS News
  11. expressing his gratitude for all of those who helped him along the way 13:18
  12. discussing Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King and Vietnam 14:17
  13. explaining the shock of Watergate 17:00
  14. describing Dr. Martin Luther King as “peace at the center” 17:47
  15. walking through all of the presidents he has interviewed 18:50
    • Dwight Eisenhower
    • John F. Kennedy
    • Lyndon Johnson
    • Richard Nixon
    • Gerald Ford
    • Jimmy Carter
    • Ronald Reagan
    • George HW Bush
    • Bill Clinton
    • George W Bush
    • Barack Obama
  16. Leaving CBS News and the controversy surrounding the report on President George W Bush 28:23

Dan Rather is anchor and managing editor of AXS TV’s Dan Rather Reports (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV).


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