Photo: AP
Over and out: CBS's Dan Rather
Photo: AP

'U.S. media support Israel'

After 22 wars and countless exclusive interviews, Dan Rather says Israel-Palestinian conflict is ‘complex but challenging'

WASHINGTON - Longtime anchor and TV journalist Dan Rather presented the CBS Evening News for the last time on March 9, bringing to a close a career that spanned several decades.


For Rather, it wasn’t the way he wanted it all to end. The reporter who first announced the death of John F. Kennedy, who interviewed
every American president since Harry S Truman, Yasser Arafat when he came to Gaza, and Saddam Hussein before he fell from power, retired after a scandal cast a cloud over the professional practices of the respected CBS News.


Ynet Washington correspondent Yitzhak Benhorin interviewed Rather, who was in Israel during the 1960s, but was at the Whiet House at the time of the Six Day War.


Is Israel is a difficult place to cover?


“Certainly the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is as complicated as any other war that I covered. It’s extremely complicated, and extremely dangerous. It’s a real challenge to report at any time.”


More than Iraq and Afghanistan?


“Yes. It is more complicated. Each was has it own challenge and difficulty, but the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has lasted so long and is more complicated to cover”.


There are Israelis who claim that the foreign media is biased against Israel.


“No, I haven’t seen that at all. I recognize there is a widespread perception among some people, but it’s not my experience at all. In the U.S. in my lifetime, until this very day, there is a deep understanding of the history of Israel and all the difficulties. There is no doubt in my mind that overall the Americans and the American reporters have a strong sense of support.”


Rather claims many Israelis fail to understand the American public and the fact that it is not made of one consistent opinion. Because of this, they fail to read the situation correctly.


“Israel is based on the principle of freedom and democracy. We are also a democracy, and we fight amongst ourselves. There are 290 million Americans, and there is a wide range of views. But generally speaking, there is great support and understanding for Israel.”


You may have covered 22 wars as a journalist, but you’ve got to admit that September 11 was different.


“I agree with you. When it happens in your own country and your own city - you have a different reaction to it.”


You didn’t show the same pictures you show from other war zones. No pictures of people jumping from the Twin Towers, no body parts on Ground Zero? It this self censorship? Because of TV ratings, or is it your mentality?


“It’s a very good point. There was some restraint. Sometimes it wasn’t clear what was happening. I was one of the first people on the scene, and I was an eyewitness from the very early stages. But I agree, there was some restraint.”


פרסום ראשון: 06.28.05, 00:08
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