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Dan Rather

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Above, Dan Rather and apparent buddy Fidel Castro.

"I did not wash my hair last night because I felt a certain amount of stiffness was probably healthy. What do you think? OK, OK, the question is whether or not to wash it for tomorrow, but we'll make that decision as we go along, I guess."

--Dan Rather, Soweto South Africa, captured on a wild feed


31 Oct 1931 Dan Rather born, Wharton, TX.
1953 B.A. Journalism, Sam Houston State College, Huntsville TX.
1963 Chief, CBS Southern Bureau, New Orleans.
22 Nov 1963 Breaks news of John F. Kennedy assassination.
1963 "I told Rather to go to [Abraham] Zapruder's house, sock him in the jaw, take his film to our affiliate in Dallas, copy it onto videotape, and let the CBS lawyers decide whether it could be sold or whether it was in the public domain. And then take the film back to Zapruder's house and give it back to him. That way, the only thing they could get him for was assault because he would have returned Zapruder's property. Rather said, 'Great idea. I'll do it.'" Don Hewitt, Tell Me a Story (published 2001.)
1966 Vietnam War correspondent.
27 Aug 1968 TV newsman Dan Rather gets beaten up in front of cameras on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The reporter was trying to interview a delegate being dragged off the floor when the bruisers turn on him. "He lifted me right off the floor and put me away. I was down, the breath knocked out of me, as the whole group blew on by me... In the CBS control room, they had switched the camera onto me just as I was slugged."
c. Apr 1980 Ventures into Afghanistan and travels with the mujahideen.
1980 "I had someone at the Houston police station shoot me with heroin so I could do a story about it. The experience was a special kind of hell. I came out understanding full well how one could be addicted to 'smack'... I've tried everything... I know a fair amount about LSD." Interview, Ladies Home Journal.
10 Nov 1980 Refuses to pay cab fare. Cabbie won't let him out. Rather screams that he's being kidnapped. CBS pays cabbie Eugene Phillips $12.55 due, and police inexplicably charge him with disorderly conduct.
1981 Anchor, CBS Evening News.
2 Sep 1985 For reasons unknown, begins signing off his broadcasts with the single word, Courage.
Oct 1986 Mugged on Park Avenue, New York City, by a man shouting What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
11 Sep 1987 After a tennis match seemed to be running long, walks off the set of CBS Evening News at the start of broadcasting, leaving dead air for six minutes. Walter Cronkite: "I would have fired him. There's no excuse for it."
29 Aug 1990 Interviews Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait.
1994 R.E.M. song, What's the Frequency, Kenneth.
13 Aug 1996 "Rummy [ Donald Rumsfeld ] used to get even with guys in the White House by leaking stuff to [Dan] Rather that didn't have any basis in fact." Tom Brokaw, taped from a satellite transmission that he did not know was being broadcast.
1997 William Tager arrested for killing an NBC Today Show stagehand. Rather identifies this person as the "Kenneth" mugger. Tager needed to know the frequency of the signals which were being beamed into his head (a seemingly reasonable request.)
16 May 2002 "It is an obscene comparison--you know, I am not sure I like it--but you know there was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions, and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism." Dan Rather on BBC Newsnight.
23 Nov 2004 Dan Rather announces he will resign from his position as anchor of CBS Evening News, effective March 9, 2005.

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