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Never Forgive, Never Forget: Dan Rather and “The Guns of Autumn”

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June 21, 2006

Never Forgive, Never Forget: Dan Rather and “The Guns of Autumn”

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

Rather The well-known liberal newspaper from which I get my news carried a story last week on the end of Dan Rather’s 44-year career at CBS News. You may recall that Rather broadcast a bogus story on President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard, and shortly in March 2005 gave up his spot as the network’s evening news anchor.

Dan, it seems, is damaged goods. But it’s not the first time he has lent his voice to something that was less than true. In September, 1975, CBS broadcast a “documentary” called “The Guns of Autumn,” which was purportedly an expose of hunting, but was so biased, so clumsy, and so blatantly rigged that it was panned by even the Columbia Journalism Review, which is the official organ of the Columbia School of Journalism and no friend to either hunters or gun owners. The narrator of this electronic excressence was Dan Rather.

So great was the howl from hunters that CBS felt compelled to do a sequel called “Echoes of the Guns of Autumn,” which attempted to justify the first show. Since then, the network has not gone near the subject.  As Ed Zern put it, “Now we know what the BS in CBS means.”

So there is Dan at 74, unwanted, unrevered, a man without a news desk. In one way it’s ironic. The public has a low opinion of journalists, but it’s about the only profession left where, if you get caught in a lie, you’re through.

Comments (23)

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from Hunter Wood wrote 6 years 12 weeks ago

I was one of the unlucky hunters caught up with in that documentary. I was at Pymatumming Reserve in PA and asked to walk down the canal with my goose that we were walking out with after a long morning hunt. The PA Game Commission was in full force with the film crew. Imagine my surprise when it came out and I was portrayed as this sick hunter killing this poor goose. I will never forget that..

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from Visitor wrote 7 years 38 weeks ago

Dan Rather was set up. '60 Minutes' had a far more vetted story about Bush's doings but they shitcanned that one at the last minute (and have never shown it) in favor of that one about the "leaked" documents regarding Bush's military service. It wasn't Rather's choice, it was the higher ups at CBS who did this.http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/09/29/cbs_wmd/index.htmlSeptember 29, 2004 | By relying on documents that could not be absolutely authenticated from a blind source to make the otherwise irrefutable case that George W. Bush shirked his National Guard duties in the early 1970s, CBS anchor Dan Rather dealt the credibility of journalism a "body blow," according to Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler. But just how damaging was that blow?One measure of the debacle is a "60 Minutes Wednesday" segment that millions of viewers now will not see: a hard-hitting report making a powerful case that in trying to build support for the Iraq war, the Bush administration either knowingly deceived the American people about Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities or was grossly credulous. CBS News president Andrew Heyward spiked the story this week, saying it would be "inappropriate" during the election campaign.The importance that CBS placed on the report was evident by its unusual length: It was slated to run a full half hour, double the usual 15 minutes of a single segment. Although months of reporting went into the production, CBS abruptly decided that it would be "inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," in the words of a statement that network spokeswoman Kelli Edwards gave the New York Times.

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from Greg Russell wrote 7 years 39 weeks ago

Paul-You infer that Bush lied when you state that when slick willie lied no one died, but W didn`t lie. CIA, British Intel, Joredanian Intel, Intel from inside Iraq, all said WMD`s were there. And before you even go there, NO, Bush didn`t steal the election either.How can you trust someone, who wagged their finger in your face on television, looked you right in the "eye", and said: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman......Ms Lewinski."What a schister.

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from Dewey Locke wrote 7 years 39 weeks ago

i am an avid hunter and would like to know if this documentary "the guns of autumn" is available for viewing .thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Russell wrote 7 years 41 weeks ago

Mislead my ass...he lied through his teeth! This is not the forum for this conversation, but if Clinton had stood up to the terrorists, maybe President Bush wouldn't have had to. He's doing the right thing!Will you be one of those holding the door open for the UN to come in here and show US how to run our country?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul wrote 7 years 41 weeks ago

Russ,I agree that Clinton mislead the public with that statement.You will get no arguement from me on that point. They are all equal opportunist. Note that I said professional politicians. One more point, "When Clinton lied no one died"!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Russell wrote 7 years 41 weeks ago

Paul, where were you when Clinton said "I never had sex with that woman!"?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul wrote 7 years 42 weeks ago

Well Dave,You are totally correct about one thing in your blog about Dan Rather and journalism."The public has a low opinion of journalists, but it’s about the only profession left where, if you get caught in a lie, you’re through".It's a travisty that it isn't that way with professional politicians such as Bush!Lies,Lies and More Liars!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ted Strong wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

El-Wazir:It's the reference that reporters and copy editors at most major American newspapers look at when they're writing about firearms. Indeed, it's the only information on the topic many of them will have.It defines automatic, assualt weapon (which actually seems to have a couple of definitions listed), cartridge, bullet, rifle, pistol, revolver, howitzer, shell, guage, caliber, etc.The AP Stylebook is an actual publication that can be purchased in a book store. Amazon lists it at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0917360249/sr=8-3/qid=1151429424/ref=pd....

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from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Mr. Strong: I didn't see more than two or three errors in the various entries under "weapons," which is quite good. I mean, this is about guns, right, and guns are evil, so they're not obliged to get everything right.To Concerned Soldier: When I did that tape for the History Channel they were concerned about smartass comments, and had large person with a club right there in the room to keep my attitude correct.

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from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Messrs. Petzal and Strong:Please elaborate on the above referenced "weapons entry in the AP Stylebook"Thanks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ted Strong wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Mr. Petzall,Any thoughts on the weapons entry in the AP Stylebook?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greg Russell wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Dan Rather was caught gleefully trying to embarrass the President, and he is paying for his agenda of hate and deceit against Bush. BRAVO.As to the muzzle loader question, why in the hell wouldn`t an in-line rifle be appropriate for muzzle loader season? It removes the true spirit of the weapon? I had thought the “true spirit” of the weapon was to kill white-tails. Probably ought to do away with compound bows too for archery season eh?Get over yourselves and worry about issues that truly impact hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matt wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Is there anyone in the western world who still thinks people in the media are anything approaching objective? If so, these ignorant souls must still believe in the Tooth Fairy. As you once said, we hold journalists in lower esteem than “pimps, child molesters, and yes, even congressmen”.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from concerned_soldier wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Thanks Dave, I echo your statement, this is a gun Blog, let us keep it that way.Now bring on more GUNS!!Is there anyway you can add more "Guns I own" segments, I am sure you own enough to do more then once a week?By the way saw you yesterday on the History Channel on the History of the Bullet. I was waiting for the SmartA$% Dave to come out, but you stayed very professional.Credit to shooters everywhere!V/RC_S

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Woiteshek wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

CBS didn't learn. Look who they replaced him with. That well known conservative Katie Couric. I'm sure she will be both pro hunting and pro gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Barney Rouse wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Dave:It is indeed an ironic comeuppance for Dan Rather to leave in what might be considered a cloud. Unfortunately, it does not relieve legitimate, considerate gun owners form the obligation to be vigilant. There will be replacements. They may be as biased as Dan Rather. Thanks for your column. I have no comment on Black Powder other than to say the modern technology removes "black powder" rifles from the true spirit of the weapon. They are no longer "black powder" rifles, but something more like single shot rifles.Barney

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Tom: Yes, Dan has been set aside quite nicely, hasn't he? As Don Imus said this morning, you will problably see him try to break into the CBS building at gunpoint, take hostages, and demand his desk back.But putting Dan aside, if you take an authentic black-powder muzzle-loader and remove all the handicaps, inefficiencies, and drawbacks that come with such a gun, what do you have? Answer: a modern rifle. Does that answer your question?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Tom: Yes, Dan has been set aside quite nicely, hasn't he? As Don Imus said this morning, you will problably see him try to break into the CBS building at gunpoint, take hostages, and demand his desk back.But putting Dan aside, if you take an authentic black-powder muzzle-loader and remove all the handicaps, inefficiencies, and drawbacks that come with such a gun, what do you have? Answer: a modern rifle. Does that answer your question?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Mike: I don't address habitat issues for the same reason I don't get into the war in Iraq; this is supposed to be a gun blog, and nothing else.I brought up Dan Rather because for as far back as I can remember, the major media have been biased and ignorant about guns (and incidentally, hunting) and it is nice to see one of their major figures pay for it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Dave,Setting Dan aside. What is your take on BlackPowder hunting today? Do you feel the new "inline" rifles deserve to be used in the primitive seasons? I hunt in NJ and Pa. NJ does not allow "modern" centerfire rifles because of the dense population, but allows inlines, which some have a safe range of 200 yards..... (this is typical politics for this state) Across the border in PA they only allow Flintlock for the Primitive seasons. Do you think states should distinguish Flintlock/Percussion cap and Inlines. I feel as though the inline is a money making industry that allows lazy wanna be black powder hunters a few extra days of deer season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike wrote 7 years 44 weeks ago

Is there a reason why you waste time on ancient, buried stuff like this, and never address real habitat issues for hunting?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 44 weeks ago

(Sung to the tune "Danny Boy")Oh, Danny Boy...The lies, the lies come back for thee

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Hunter Wood wrote 6 years 12 weeks ago

I was one of the unlucky hunters caught up with in that documentary. I was at Pymatumming Reserve in PA and asked to walk down the canal with my goose that we were walking out with after a long morning hunt. The PA Game Commission was in full force with the film crew. Imagine my surprise when it came out and I was portrayed as this sick hunter killing this poor goose. I will never forget that..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Visitor wrote 7 years 38 weeks ago

Dan Rather was set up. '60 Minutes' had a far more vetted story about Bush's doings but they shitcanned that one at the last minute (and have never shown it) in favor of that one about the "leaked" documents regarding Bush's military service. It wasn't Rather's choice, it was the higher ups at CBS who did this.http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/09/29/cbs_wmd/index.htmlSeptember 29, 2004 | By relying on documents that could not be absolutely authenticated from a blind source to make the otherwise irrefutable case that George W. Bush shirked his National Guard duties in the early 1970s, CBS anchor Dan Rather dealt the credibility of journalism a "body blow," according to Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler. But just how damaging was that blow?One measure of the debacle is a "60 Minutes Wednesday" segment that millions of viewers now will not see: a hard-hitting report making a powerful case that in trying to build support for the Iraq war, the Bush administration either knowingly deceived the American people about Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities or was grossly credulous. CBS News president Andrew Heyward spiked the story this week, saying it would be "inappropriate" during the election campaign.The importance that CBS placed on the report was evident by its unusual length: It was slated to run a full half hour, double the usual 15 minutes of a single segment. Although months of reporting went into the production, CBS abruptly decided that it would be "inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," in the words of a statement that network spokeswoman Kelli Edwards gave the New York Times.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greg Russell wrote 7 years 39 weeks ago

Paul-You infer that Bush lied when you state that when slick willie lied no one died, but W didn`t lie. CIA, British Intel, Joredanian Intel, Intel from inside Iraq, all said WMD`s were there. And before you even go there, NO, Bush didn`t steal the election either.How can you trust someone, who wagged their finger in your face on television, looked you right in the "eye", and said: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman......Ms Lewinski."What a schister.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dewey Locke wrote 7 years 39 weeks ago

i am an avid hunter and would like to know if this documentary "the guns of autumn" is available for viewing .thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Russell wrote 7 years 41 weeks ago

Mislead my ass...he lied through his teeth! This is not the forum for this conversation, but if Clinton had stood up to the terrorists, maybe President Bush wouldn't have had to. He's doing the right thing!Will you be one of those holding the door open for the UN to come in here and show US how to run our country?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul wrote 7 years 41 weeks ago

Russ,I agree that Clinton mislead the public with that statement.You will get no arguement from me on that point. They are all equal opportunist. Note that I said professional politicians. One more point, "When Clinton lied no one died"!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Russell wrote 7 years 41 weeks ago

Paul, where were you when Clinton said "I never had sex with that woman!"?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul wrote 7 years 42 weeks ago

Well Dave,You are totally correct about one thing in your blog about Dan Rather and journalism."The public has a low opinion of journalists, but it’s about the only profession left where, if you get caught in a lie, you’re through".It's a travisty that it isn't that way with professional politicians such as Bush!Lies,Lies and More Liars!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ted Strong wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

El-Wazir:It's the reference that reporters and copy editors at most major American newspapers look at when they're writing about firearms. Indeed, it's the only information on the topic many of them will have.It defines automatic, assualt weapon (which actually seems to have a couple of definitions listed), cartridge, bullet, rifle, pistol, revolver, howitzer, shell, guage, caliber, etc.The AP Stylebook is an actual publication that can be purchased in a book store. Amazon lists it at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0917360249/sr=8-3/qid=1151429424/ref=pd....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Mr. Strong: I didn't see more than two or three errors in the various entries under "weapons," which is quite good. I mean, this is about guns, right, and guns are evil, so they're not obliged to get everything right.To Concerned Soldier: When I did that tape for the History Channel they were concerned about smartass comments, and had large person with a club right there in the room to keep my attitude correct.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Messrs. Petzal and Strong:Please elaborate on the above referenced "weapons entry in the AP Stylebook"Thanks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ted Strong wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Mr. Petzall,Any thoughts on the weapons entry in the AP Stylebook?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greg Russell wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Dan Rather was caught gleefully trying to embarrass the President, and he is paying for his agenda of hate and deceit against Bush. BRAVO.As to the muzzle loader question, why in the hell wouldn`t an in-line rifle be appropriate for muzzle loader season? It removes the true spirit of the weapon? I had thought the “true spirit” of the weapon was to kill white-tails. Probably ought to do away with compound bows too for archery season eh?Get over yourselves and worry about issues that truly impact hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matt wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Is there anyone in the western world who still thinks people in the media are anything approaching objective? If so, these ignorant souls must still believe in the Tooth Fairy. As you once said, we hold journalists in lower esteem than “pimps, child molesters, and yes, even congressmen”.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from concerned_soldier wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Thanks Dave, I echo your statement, this is a gun Blog, let us keep it that way.Now bring on more GUNS!!Is there anyway you can add more "Guns I own" segments, I am sure you own enough to do more then once a week?By the way saw you yesterday on the History Channel on the History of the Bullet. I was waiting for the SmartA$% Dave to come out, but you stayed very professional.Credit to shooters everywhere!V/RC_S

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Woiteshek wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

CBS didn't learn. Look who they replaced him with. That well known conservative Katie Couric. I'm sure she will be both pro hunting and pro gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Barney Rouse wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Dave:It is indeed an ironic comeuppance for Dan Rather to leave in what might be considered a cloud. Unfortunately, it does not relieve legitimate, considerate gun owners form the obligation to be vigilant. There will be replacements. They may be as biased as Dan Rather. Thanks for your column. I have no comment on Black Powder other than to say the modern technology removes "black powder" rifles from the true spirit of the weapon. They are no longer "black powder" rifles, but something more like single shot rifles.Barney

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Tom: Yes, Dan has been set aside quite nicely, hasn't he? As Don Imus said this morning, you will problably see him try to break into the CBS building at gunpoint, take hostages, and demand his desk back.But putting Dan aside, if you take an authentic black-powder muzzle-loader and remove all the handicaps, inefficiencies, and drawbacks that come with such a gun, what do you have? Answer: a modern rifle. Does that answer your question?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Tom: Yes, Dan has been set aside quite nicely, hasn't he? As Don Imus said this morning, you will problably see him try to break into the CBS building at gunpoint, take hostages, and demand his desk back.But putting Dan aside, if you take an authentic black-powder muzzle-loader and remove all the handicaps, inefficiencies, and drawbacks that come with such a gun, what do you have? Answer: a modern rifle. Does that answer your question?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

To Mike: I don't address habitat issues for the same reason I don't get into the war in Iraq; this is supposed to be a gun blog, and nothing else.I brought up Dan Rather because for as far back as I can remember, the major media have been biased and ignorant about guns (and incidentally, hunting) and it is nice to see one of their major figures pay for it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom wrote 7 years 43 weeks ago

Dave,Setting Dan aside. What is your take on BlackPowder hunting today? Do you feel the new "inline" rifles deserve to be used in the primitive seasons? I hunt in NJ and Pa. NJ does not allow "modern" centerfire rifles because of the dense population, but allows inlines, which some have a safe range of 200 yards..... (this is typical politics for this state) Across the border in PA they only allow Flintlock for the Primitive seasons. Do you think states should distinguish Flintlock/Percussion cap and Inlines. I feel as though the inline is a money making industry that allows lazy wanna be black powder hunters a few extra days of deer season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike wrote 7 years 44 weeks ago

Is there a reason why you waste time on ancient, buried stuff like this, and never address real habitat issues for hunting?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 44 weeks ago

(Sung to the tune "Danny Boy")Oh, Danny Boy...The lies, the lies come back for thee

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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