Dan Rather, the formidable former anchor of CBS Evening News and current host of The News with Dan Rather on The Young Turks Network, has become a frequent target of far-right media in recent years. Breitbart has mocked Rather's "great sadness" about the future with President Trump, and The Western Journal dismissed his declaration that the president is "mean as a wolverine" (their argument: "Not only is 'Wolverine' one of the coolest superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe, the animal itself is best known as being absolutely fearless and ferocious if the need arises"). The 86-year-old news veteran certainly has not been shy in calling the state of America bleak, but as he told Columbia Journalism Review in an interview published Monday, "I'm an optimist by nature and by experience, and I do think we'll get through it."
Rather goes on to explain why he thinks the future could be bright yet:
We need to stop, think, work, particularly those of us in journalism. You used the word "bleak." I think, seen from one perspective, that at least in the short- to medium-term, it could get pretty bleak.
Right now, there's very little check on Trump. The modern presidency has tremendous power, if whoever leads it chooses to use that power, to discredit and cripple the press. Trump is demonstrating right now that he has no inhibitions about using the full power of the presidency for his own partisan political advantage. So short- to medium-term, yeah, I think it could get pretty bleak. […] I do think we'll get through it and come out the other end. Maybe with a better and stronger understanding of and commitment to what the value of quality journalism can be in a society such as ours. [Columbia Journalism Review]
Read the full interview, and why Rather believes Trump's hatred of the media is distinctly different than former President Richard Nixon's, at CJR.