The State of TV News – Dan Rather Gets it Right

I love when a partner of mine takes a bold stand and gets it right. Dan Rather over the past few days has taken on the broadcast news business and as he is given to do, pulled no punches and told it “Just the way it is”.

HDNet hired Dan Rather to create Dan Rather Reports this past November . Its a program that I’m incredibly proud of. Our subscribers, the media and industry have responded to Dan Rather Reports with continuous praise.

If you havent seen it, here is a link to Dan’s interview on Fox News. Its well worth watching.

I’m a big believer in standing up for what you believe in. I’m proud to have Dan as a partner at HDNet.

For those who haven’t seen it, here is a sample :

Here is part 2

Here is part 3

29 thoughts on “The State of TV News – Dan Rather Gets it Right

  1. nice website
    very informative

    Comment by program -

  2. Excellent Mark.
    Now, On another note, what\’s the chance you can start up a \”REAL\” 24 hr news tv station on cable? we used to have CNN until they decided to stop doing 24 hr news. It\’s now known as \”CNN Replays\”. Anyone working midshift who wants to unwind and watch news when the get home, get replays of AC360 Commentaries that have been shown over and over and over and over. Enuff is enough, i\’ve seen the Darfur video once, I don\’t need to see it 400 times. I\’ll tell you, when the start on a subject, they will wear it out. When they do a show about New Orleans (which they need to do), they will wear it out by doing a whole damn week on new orleans. Same thing goes with any other subject they start on, like, Paris Hilton.
    Enuff already. There are small towns facing disasters, large fires that we don\’t know what cause them. People losing their jobs, company closings, and companies opening. If they do their research, they won\’t have to repeat the same thing over and over again. There have been a stretch of bank robberies here in arkansas, has anyone even heard about it? a fan got hit by a baseball at a game a few nights ago, and it killed him, did anyone mention that. MR. Cuban, please show these \”wannabe\” news stations what a real news station should be like. thanks for letting me vent

    Comment by Roger -

  3. Dan Rather Reports is one of the best television news magazines at the present time and Dan Rather is getting better and better. I hope we will still see him for a long time on television.

    Comment by Michael -

  4. Mark, I\’ve been a huge supporter with what you have done with the Mavs. I\’ve been watching them since they had Jason Kidd as a rookie. So you have been a bit of a hero to me for resurrecting this franchise.

    Dan Rather, on the other hand, I am not so proud of. Anyone who knowingly passes off forged documents as the truth cannot be trusted. The only reason that lefty organization CBS fired him was because it was a national embarrassment.

    If you are going to have a news program and pass it off as real then you must have someone trustworthy and unbiased sitting in the anchor chair. If this cannot be accomplished (i.e. Dan Rather) the next contingency would be to sit someone from the other side of the ideological spectrum beside him to counter his opinions. CNN used to have a show like that (Crossfire) and Fox News has a show like that (Hannity and Colmes) and it\’s great. The liberal and the conservative each get equal time and it\’s thrillingly entertaining listening to them battle it out on a nightly basis.

    Try something like this Mark. Don\’t just plop down a liberal and alienate half your audience. This works in sport when you are only trying to appeal to a specialized audience (i.e. Mavs Fans!) but I think that the Fox News Channel gets such high ratings because their production is slick and because they give time to both sides.

    I cut off my top tier HD programming when the Mavs aren\’t playing because there is nothing to watch. And I\’m certainly not going to watch long winded soliloquies with Dan Rather ranting about whatever liberal cause he can come up with. Give me something to watch and I\’ll come back. Until then I\’ll stick to FNC for my news in LOW definition.

    Comment by Chase Chick -


    Comment by DON STATHAM -

  6. Dan Rather used forged documents, that he knew were suspect as pointed out by his producer to gin up a story about George Bush one week before the 2004 election. That\’s why he was fired from CBS. He had it coming.

    Comment by joe -

  7. I don\’t even have an HDTV but I would purchase the package just to see this news program.. unfortunately it isn\’t offered on Comcast cable here in the Bay Area. Mark are we going to see HDnet on Comcast ever?

    Comment by Taylor -

  8. Mark, I was reading the Boston Globe this morning and came across this article

    I\’ve written to you before about HDNET, I\’m a fan. I found the story somewhat demeaning to Mr Rather and your network.

    Glad you came through the colonoscopy so well. Had one myself; they are no big deal.

    Comment by Frank -

  9. Dan Rather is like a fine wine – he gets better with age.

    Also, I\’m a fan of Matt Pinfield – Mark, youve done well in hiring some great TV personalities – kudos

    Comment by Noah -

  10. I grew up watching Dan Rather, though it\’s taken the recent decline in gutsy journalism for me to truly appreciate him, his offbeat humor and his devotion to noBS professionalism .. nice to see him back in the ring.

    Comment by Architect -

  11. I stopped watching the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather when Dan Rather left the chair. Not interested in anyone else\’s reporting.

    I too had seen a lot of the news via the web by the end of the day, but still tuned into Rather to see what he was reporting. Why? Because I had enough of the fluff that was reported all day long. I wanted real news when I got home from work & wanted it from Dan Rather.

    The evening news has become a news magazine like everyone else\’s cable news show. Who needs it?

    If people want nonsense, why don\’t they have programs just for those folks, and hard news for the other bunch? There certainly seems to be no shortage of airtime available, especially considering they repeat reports ad nauseum. They seem to have that crap on a loop.

    Katie Couric may be smart; can\’t tell. She may be a good journalist; can\’t see it. My opinion is what she lacks is credibility. Whether it is her character, her delivery or the camera, she comes across as fake and phony and I can\’t stand to look at or listen to her. I tried during the mid term elections because I wanted to hear Bob Schiefer. She was awful. I lasted about 10 minutes and turned to C-Span.

    I am exceedingly grateful to Mr. Cuban for giving Dan Rather a venue for his excellent reporting. Also delighted to hear Dan Rather is having fun with it. No matter how much he wanted to be anchor, he always said his 60 Minutes job was his best gig, and what he is doing now must remind him of that part of his career.

    Insofar as bias, I do not see how you can eliminate it altogether. He does as good a job as anyone. If people think they are seeing straight shooting elsewhere, they are as deluded as the network execs who think they are giving the people what they want.

    Comment by redheadedwoman -

  12. Hey Mark, I can\’t begin to even think I know whats going through the hearts and minds of our brave troops serving right now. I can only pray they get home safe and thier loved ones sleep as few restless nights as possible. Anyone that can judge anybody doing anything over there without being there is at best serving their own imagination. I did have one question thrown at me one morning while getting sick to my stomach watching the news. Someone close to me said\” What do you think you and the people that you know would do if another country came here from \”bad intellegence\” then decided to stay to tell us how they think we should live? so Im thinking…. to myself I say, And take all the oil they can possibly take. So I would like anyone to ponder, What would we do if someone came here and said. Hey heres a better way of life. You ARE going to take it, at least until the end of this administration, Something for everyone to ponder the next time the have a judgement on anything they havent actually been a part of. The game is always easier from the stands. Thanks for your thoughts Mark.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  13. oh lord… \”criminal war\”? Another victim of the non-stop bias in the news. I highly suggest you report to your doctor for local surgery to have your puppet strings removed.

    Programs Dan Rather has been associated with have a documented history of distortion in their presentation of investigations they have done. Since he IS one of the few remaining \”journalists\” out there, he has no excuses for not knowing what he presented was twisted. He either valued his job more than truth or was part of the people who twisted it in the first place. He belongs to the Michael Moore school of \”journalism\”; don\’t outright lie (for the most part), but don\’t present the entire truth, either. Twist the facts to back your views and leave out everything which proves your position wrong. A great technique if you are a paid lobbyist/propagandist. A terrible standard if you are involved in news.

    I\’m not saying the right is any better than the left. Mark – we don\’t need people with histories of deception. What we need is someone with enough balls to simply present the FACTS.

    Believe it or not, we are all smarter than you think. Fox scores big because studies repeatedly rate them as the most balanced news on TV. When will execs figure it out? We do not want propaganda. We want facts without editorials embedded in them. The first company which truly does that will take over the news.

    Comment by Michael Brenner -

  14. To me, as a foreigner looking at the American news, I wonder what has happened to it. It appears more to me now than rather than being investigative journalists, they simply accept what is handed to them, especially from the white house and run with it. To me the American Media has lost it\’s teeth for doing investigative journalism, and is essentially just a spin doctor now. Sad to see, but it is no wonder when you see how badly the USA rates in Journalist freedom studies.

    Comment by Richard -

  15. The morning radio to work seems to be more important than the evening news on TV. Also, the evening radio from work is more important than the evening news on TV.

    Comment by David Skowronski -

  16. Dan Rather is, and for many years has been, the man whom I most trust to tell me unbiased, fair and accurate news. Anti-Iraq propoganda? Should we not all be against this criminal war, David? Mark Cuban, you frigging rule, whether you are owning sports teams or hosting a show or just getting back to your internet beginning. A liberal college speech teacher and university researcher in North Texas, Denton, Texas…. Robin Fletcher

    Comment by Robin Fletcher -

  17. Because Dan reports the truth and actually investigates instead of just repeating the government\’s statements he\’s biased? Never ceases to amaze me how neo-cons refuse to listen to truth or facts when they contradict their views.

    Dan\’s recent piece on West Point was fantastic and gave FAAAARRRR more insight into the young men and women that are going into military service today and the sacrifices that they make than any other news program I\’ve seen in the last 5 years. It made no statements what-so-ever on the political \”rightness\” or \”wrongness\” of the Iraq war. Just a fair, un-biased very in depth and wonderfully done piece on the lives of these brave men and women and what it takes to become an officer in the U.S. Military.

    Yet Dan is a liberal, anti-war propoganda spewing talking-head?? …. Whatever.

    Comment by Jay -

  18. Mark,

    I get my news from the net because I can actually get a somewhat balanced view of the events in question. TV news is becoming pretty inconsequential. TV news has become a great place to see
    who won on Idol last night or what\’s up with Paris or Angelina,
    but pretty useless from a news perspective. It\’s more about
    the personal views of the station/network and personal bias of
    the announcer than anything even remotely resembling decent journalism.

    Dan Rather is not a person who\’s personal opinion means anything to me. I like a lot of your programming, but I\’ll never watch Dan. Maybe if you could team him up with Ann Coulter? That would at least have some entertainment value.


    Comment by pneil -

  19. Mark,

    I love that you used YouTube to display these videos on your site. Definitely practicing what you preach wrt micro-chunking the content and taking advantage of the free distribution and exposure.

    Freaking brilliant!

    Surprised I was the first to point it out…

    Comment by Jesse Chenard -

  20. The real problem with the evening news it is that it becomes increasingly irrelevant. Looking at the age of the succesful anchors Charlie Gibson and Bob Schiffer gives you a window into the demographics of who watches the evening news now. When there is a major event everyone used to turn on the network news to see the anchor of their choice reporting on it. Now everyone jumps to cable for the special report.

    Comment by phil -

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    Comment by Ifat -

  22. I try to update my site with the most up to date news on 3D movies and the technology surrounding that so I really can appreciate your stand and Mr. Rather\’s. Today\’s news IS different.

    Comment by Jim Dorey -

  23. Dan Rather\’s no stranger to making offensive comments, but I agree with you that it\’s because he takes a stand.

    In this case, I believe that he\’s attacking the format decision of CBS News and not Katie Couric. However, I also believe that he\’s a victim of his era.

    Presentation of News evolves like any other business. Dan Rather may not like what he sees, but he\’s becoming more and more irrelevant as the audience shifts toward a far younger generation with different expectations.

    All of the news organizations ultimately have to face this challenge. Dan Rather should remember his younger days when he faced similar criticism for his approach to some stories. All I can tell Dan Rather is….


    Comment by William Beem -

  24. Look, bottom line is that we need more no holds barred uncensored opinions out there whether they are good or bad. It\’s extremely easy to hide behind all kinds of B.S. statements. When we can start letting it all hang out we just might move in the right direction.

    Comment by Brock Landers -

  25. I agree with Charlie\’s comment. Before the news is on I\’ve read all of the headlines throughout the day. I liked the first-hand, gritty clips and sound bits, they offer a direct view of the war and not just a replay of the headlines I\’ve read all day.

    Comment by discount blu-ray -

  26. I loved Dan Rather when he was on the evening news. I had the HD Tier for 4 months from my local cable and enjoyed catching his show on HDNet. There is just something about him that he\’s able to tell us the news without getting involved. You have to admit even if you like or dislike Katie she has the largest shoes to fill in the evening news.

    Comment by -

  27. I thought it was inaccurate to accuse Dan Rather of sexism; the fact is, TV news has taken a nosedive over the years for a number of different reasons, and Rather is old-school, from back when TV journalists were journalists and not just talking heads. It has nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with having respect for your profession.

    And, as a writer, I have to say: Mark Cuban, it pains me to read your postings sometimes. The punctuation, spacing, typos — don\’t get me wrong, you\’re obviously a very smart man, but please run spell-check before you post. Have some respect for the written word!

    Comment by Dewey -

  28. ::yawn::

    more anti-war in iraq propaganda. great.

    Comment by David -

  29. I think the problem with the evening news is more fundamental than who is reporting it, be it Dan Rather or Katie Couric. The problem is that most of us are *so* connected (via computer, blackberry, whatever) during the day, we already pretty much know what\’s happened that day. So by 6pm, the \”news\” isn\’t new anymore. Much different than \”back in the day.\” I know that I\’m about a billion times more likely to skim through headlines and read what I want than sit in front of the TV for an hour to hear it. The evening news has to offer something that I can\’t get online for me to watch. I just don\’t see that happening right now, which is why I don\’t watch.

    Comment by Charlie G. -

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