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Dan Rather Leaves CBS After 44 Years

CBS News announced today that an agreement had been reached for Dan Rather to leave the network, ending his 44-year career there. He stepped down from the principal anchor position last year and has since been contributing to "60 Minutes." A media reporter discusses the circumstances surrounding Rather's departure.

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    Dan Rather was once the face of CBS News. He logged 44 years at the network, 24 in the anchor chair of the "Evening News."

    But the announcement today that the storied newsman was leaving was not a surprise. Rather hasn't anchored the news since March of last year. He's filed only occasional stories for "60 Minutes" this year and was last seen on the network last weekend on the program "Sunday Morning."

    Rather's reputation suffered after a "60 Minutes" story about President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the National Guard. That story relied on documents that ultimately could not be authenticated.

    In early 2001, more than three years before the National Guard story aired, NewsHour correspondent Terence Smith interviewed Rather and asked him about his future.

  • TERENCE SMITH, Former NewsHour Correspondent:

    Dan Rather, he's been in that chair 20 years, almost 20 years. How long does he want to be in it?

    DAN RATHER, Former Host, "CBS Evening News": For as long as I can do it and do it up to my own standards and the standards of CBS News.

    You know, Terry, you and I worked together for a long time. I think you know me well enough that what I know and about all I know is to work hard, try hard, trust in hard work, determination, perseverance, and know that the best motto for the long pull is don't grumble, just keep plugging away.

    And that's how I feel about this job. I love this job; I love everything about it. I want to do it for as long as my health holds and as long as I can meet our standards. The second either one of those things ceases to be, no one will have to ask me to be out of here.

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