Once a dominant figure on CBS News before his bitter departure, Don Rather returns for first time in 18 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Don contrast Returning to the CBS News airwaves for the first time since his bitter exit 18 years ago, the 92-year-old appeared in a reflective interview on “CBS Sunday Morning” just days before a Netflix documentary about the reporter's life premiered.

After 44 years on the network, 24 as host of “CBS Evening News,” instead left under a cloud A pending trial On the military record of then-President George W. Bush. Rather signed on as an anchor for the last time on March 9, 2005, and left the network 15 months later when her contract expired.

There was an ongoing feud between him and the ousted CBS chief Leslie MoonvesInstead he became a non-person in the news segment he had dominated for decades.

“Without apology or explanation, I miss CBS,” he told reporter Lee Cowan in an interview that aired Sunday. “I've missed it since the day I left.”

Bush's Vietnam War-era report questioning the service of the National Guard escaped official prosecution but was identified with it as the anchor that introduced it. CBS has not confirmed the authenticity of some of the documents on which this report is based, although many people involved in the story believe it to be true.

In the documentary “Instead,” which debuted Wednesday on Netflix, he said he thought he would get away with the incident, but his wife, Jean, told him, “You fought the president of the United States during his re-election campaign. What did you think was going to happen?”

After leaving CBS, he never retired after doing investigative journalism and rock star interviews for HDNet, a digital cable and satellite television network. Over the past few years, he has become known to the new generation as a sour-talking presence on social media.

Last week, he posted on X Money investigation into former President Trump: “Is it just me or does even Donald Trump seem mean today?”

“You either get engaged and put on new terms … or you're out of the game,” he said in a CBS interview filmed at his home in Texas. “I wanted to be in the game.”

The Netflix documentary, President John F. Kennedy's assassination, the Vietnam War, and Watergate chronicle his life from his anchor years and beyond. That includes some of the strangest incidents of the then tightly wound Rather An attack in New York City Someone said, “What's the frequency, Kenneth,” and then appeared on stage with REM, the group performing its song of the same name.

In both the documentary and the CBS interview, he ignores his career when talk turns to his legacy.

“In the end, what's left of one's life — family, friends — are the things you remember,” he said.


David Potter writes about the media for the Associated Press. Follow him at http://twitter.com/dbauder

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