Even though Dan Rather is 5 million dollars poorer due to legal bills he spent on his case and even though the court of appeals threw out his $70 million dollar breech of contract against CBS , his not having to continue with the case may very well be a blessing in disguise. Personally, I don’t think he should appeal the decision, but rather move on with his life.
Not only will he save on additional legal bills but he will be spared the added emotional distress which may have caused him health issues and even perhaps shortened his life. If he looks this horrible now- so worn and beaten up, one can only imagine how he would look at the end of the trial where there would be no guarantee if he would win or lose anyway. One could only imagine the havoc that it would wreak on his physical being.
Dan feels he was wronged by CBS removing him from his Evening News Post over a report that examined former President George Bush’s military service so he sued. But truth be known, Dan Rather would have been removed from his post anyway because most 77 year olds are commonly relieved from their anchor duties.
Networks want young good looking physically anchors that are easy on the eye, just like they wanted him back in 1981 after they made a then 65 year old news icon Walter Cronkite retire. At that time, CBS thought Walter was too old for viewers to look at, so they hired the tall, dark and handsome Dan Rather with his appealing voice and winning smile. Now close to 25 years later they did the same to him.
It came full circle. Of course in this day and age of political correctness, no one could do what they did to poor Walter and make him retire because of his age. So they used another excuse or made Dan’s life miserable by giving him less to do, so he would quit or they blamed it on whatever.
Ageism is not always the case in the news media. Experts can appear on the air even if they are in their 100’s. Look at Dr. Ruth and Dr. Joyce Bothers and so many aging politicians and legal analysts. In fact the older you are, the more seasoned you are , the more you know, So it works to your advantage. Of course you still have to look good.
If you continue to look good, are likeable, get along with people, and have a following (big ratings) you can remain on the air even as an anchor until they wheel you out on a gurney. Case in point- Los Angeles anchor and my dear friend and on camera media mentor when I was a young reporter at KABC television, the late and great Jerry Dunphy. Everyone adored Jerry and he worked on the air until he was 86 when he passed away.
I believe that Dan still has a good future ahead of him on television but he needs to do a few things first. Since, like it or not, looks are what counts in the media, especially for a talking head, he needs to spend some of that money he just saved from not going forward with the case and invest in :
a) a great plastic surgeon with a light touch who will just nip and tuck and not pull his skin so tight that he looks like he will be wearing a Halloween mask. He needs the eye bags removed, the lids lifted, jowels lifted, turkey neck tightened. moles removes, and a deep facial peel to get rid of the wrinkles. He needs to grow his hair out and have it cut and styled so it better frames his face. It can be silver and he could look loike a silver fox if he styled it like Bill Clinton’s hair.
b) He then needs along vacation where he chills out and sees the world, not from a reporters eyes but from a human being’s eyes. He needs to travel around the globe and visit some starving children who could really benefit from some of the money he saved on his legal bills. He needs to donate some of that money to them to make sure they can eat and have a roof over their heads and even make sure that they have some money so that can receive proper medical attention.
c) Then after he is humbled by helping those needy children around the world, he then needs to take some more of the money he saved from not having to continue the lawsuit and do a compelling and entertaining television show. In the show he needs to puts his ego aside so that he is not the only one in front of the camera. Instead he needs to develop new talent and hire a team of competent really attractive on camera people to deliver the message of the show. I think that with all of his experience he would add a credibility to the show while his “team” would add other elements like sex appeal and humor.
Then he needs to get behind some major charitable causes that he believes in and raise money to support them. He needs to give back what he has been given – money fame, a great lifestyle. He needs to get over his bitterness, stop whining and complaining and move on. He needs to put his energy into doing some good in the world instead of wasting it on a losing battle.