Hard Questions and Dan Rather’s Prescription for Bias

January 01, 2001  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Adhd

  1. Did CBS know this information but deliberately decide not to share it with the public?
  2. Why did CBS systematically and deliberately ignore the most fundamental facts about the legitimacy of the ADHD diagnosis and the value of medications to treat it?
  3. Why did CBS allow Rather to anchor this program, even though he is on record in The Houston Chronicle as opposing ADHD medication?
  4. What editorial direction did Rather give correspondents Erin Moriarty, Susan Spencer and Bill Lagattuta?
  5. Did 48 Hours cross the line? I asked Tom Clare, an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis who specializes in defamation claims against the media:

"News organizations have an obligation to thoroughly investigate and verify facts in a report," Clare said. "The failure to do so is evidence of actual malice one of the key elements of a successful defamation claim against a media defendant. That is especially true when, as is apparently true in this case, information rebutting the themes of the story is readily available to the reporter prior to the broadcast."

As for a journalist bringing this bias to the story, Clare said:

"There is risk to objectivity when a reporter has editorialized on a subject or expressed a personal view on a subject that he or she later seeks to report on. Courts have held that preconceived beliefs about a proposed storyline – which often lead to the selective inclusion of facts in a story – can be evidence of actual malice."

  1. Perhaps the hardest question of all: How does Dan Rather get away with it?