Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather on Monday advised fellow journalists to report on what President Trump “really believes” rather than what he says during prepared speeches and on Twitter.
“To my fellow members of the press, I suggest we refrain from quoting the president’s words from prepared speeches into headlines and tweets without context,” the veteran broadcaster tweeted to his 694,000 followers. “He sometimes says the right thing. The real questions are what he does and what he really believes.”
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Mr. Rather expanded on the thought later Monday on “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, arguing that Mr. Trump is a racist and that journalists have a duty to report the “truth” on his bigotry.
“This moment in history reminds me a great deal of when I was covering the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King in the early 1960s,” Mr. Rather explained, according to a clip published by Newsbusters. “It was clearly definitively right and wrong. That was the truth of the situation. Then and now it’s the job of journalists not to try to hide or obscure but to speak the truth, and that’s where we are now. People say, ‘Well, I’m not sure President Trump is racist,’ but racist is as racist does.
“You always need to watch, not so much what he says, particularly when it’s a speech written by somebody else for him — with President Trump, any time he tries to speak about hope or compassion, it’s about as authentic as a Times Square Rolex,” he added.
Mr. Lemon, who routinely calls Mr. Trump a racist during his show, interjected to say that giving the president such a label did not come easily for him.
“But journalists work with facts and with evidence, and all one has to do is look at the evidence,” the host said.
“Well exactly. It’s speaking truth,” Mr. Rather added.
The former CBS anchor later repeated the sentiment on Twitter.
This moment in our history reminds me of covering the Civil Rights movement. Sometimes there is a right and a wrong. It is the job of the journalist to not distort or hide that truth.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 6, 2019
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