Dan Rather is not beholden to anybody.
After a six-decade career in what’s been dubbed the mainstream media, Rather is taking his words and wisdom to a new platform.
“It was completely unexpected, it came out of nowhere as far as I’m concerned,” Rather said of the quick growth of his personal Facebook page which boasts nearly 2.5 million likes.
It’s hard to scroll through Facebook feeds without seeing the black and white image of a youthful looking Rather standing in front of the White House during his days covering the Nixon administration. His posts — long and insightful — have made the 86-year-old former CBS Evening News anchor a new age celebrity, allowing him to connect with a new generation as he takes the mantle as the voice of reason during the Trump administration.
“Social media and Facebook, in particular, has been liberating to a degree that I never thought possible before.”
And while so much in Rather’s orbit has changed, so much remains the same. He preps for his weekly Radio Andy show by jotting down notes in a vintage reporter’s notebook and still wears his signature maroon suspenders. His anchor charm radiates through an aging smile as he so often stops to shake the hands of everyone in a room, ask their name, and of course, pose for a new age selfie.
“I want to do the right thing, and if I’m able to the right thing here today then to hell with the consequences,” Rather explained. “And that’s a whole different thing from being anchor and managing editor of anybody’s evening news or for that matter even having a newspaper beat.”
Rather’s personal Facebook page, as well as his newly launched News and Guts page works with a skeleton of a team — something vastly different for someone who spent most of his career working in one of the biggest newsrooms in the world.
“We’re not owned by a big corporation, we’re not owned by a small corporation. It’s all on us,” Rather said. “Now with that freedom comes a big responsibility that we also don’t have a whole staff of people to check and double check everything.”
Rather added, “I’ve been really lucky to cover more than a few big stories over a lifetime, and while many of them were tragedies, I wouldn’t take anything for having been there.”
“If I can bring even a smidgen of context and perspective to what’s happening with people, not that everybody’s going to agree with it, but I hope people say, ‘I want to think about what Dan wrote today.’ Of course, that’s satisfying.”
Hear Dan Rather Tuesdays at 10 am ET on SiriusXM Radio Andy (Ch. 102).
Dan Rather’s latest book, ‘What Unites Us‘ is now available.