Media & Communications Law

Dan Rather Sues CBS for $70 Million

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Claiming that CBS News made him a “scapegoat” for the network’s flawed reporting concerning President George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War era, former 60 Minutes reporter Dan Rather sued today for $70 million.

His lawsuit, which names as defendants the network, its corporate parent and three supervisors, claims breach of contract and damage to his professional reputation, reports the New York Times. Rather, 75, now works at what the newspaper refers to as an obscure cable television channel after what it describes as an inglorious end to his CBS career last year. Although the apparent catalyst for his departure was a 60 Minutes segment which made disputed claims that could not be substantiated about Bush, the former top news anchor also contends in the suit that CBS effectively sidelined him.

“He was provided with very little staff support, very few of his suggested stories were approved, editing services were denied to him, and the broadcast of the few stories he was permitted to do was delayed and then played on carefully selected evenings, when low viewership was anticipated,” the suit contends.

Responds the network, in a written statement: “These complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit.”

Rather, whose contract with CBS called for him to be paid $6 million annually, is reportedly seeking $20 million in compensatory and $50 million in punitive damages. His complaint was filed in Manhattan in State Supreme Court, which is New York’s trial court.

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