Redditors ā€“ your questions during my first AMA in December were both thought provoking and entertaining, to say the least. Iā€™m looking forward to answering more of your questions over the next hour or two. Ask me anything.

Also, I responded to a lot of questions during my last AMA with video responses, allowing me to more easily share some of my thoughts, old stories and reactions to some of your questions like this hilarious Family Guy clip I had never seen before (thanks again for sharing). I'll be recording a few video responses this time, as well ā€“ you can watch them all on my wire and we'll also be sure to post them individually in the thread.

PROOF this is me.

UPDATE: I'm recording a lot of responses/stories in video -- I'm posting them all in the thread below but you can also follow me on #waywire to watch all of these responses and more behind the scenes videos. Here are some of these videos:

Dan Rather Says Jon Stewart is a Genius

Aliens, Goats and The World is Ending

George W. Bush Bails on National Guard Duties

Dan Rather on Emotional Stories

Bob Marley Stuns Dan Rather

Comments: 1554 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

theshadeofit727 karma

What story was the hardest to cover emotionally?

danratherreport1157 karma

thank you for your question -- here is my response

SherlockBrolmes692 karma

What do you think of satirical news programs like "The Daily Show?" Do you think they're informative and beneficial to journalism or shouldn't be taken seriously?

Edit: Here's Dan's response to my question. Thanks Mr. Rather!

danratherreport902 karma

I love the Daily Show and think Jon Stewart is a genius. Here are some more of my thoughts

Geaux580 karma

If there was one question that every president (or presidential candidate) should be asked and answered honestly, what do you think it should be?

Also, could you tell us a bit about Dan Rather Reports? What makes it different than other journalistic outlets like it?

danratherreport1047 karma

what a good question -- this is the reason I like to be on reddit. Another question that really gets me thinking. Every president should be asked, and should be asked often: what's the most important thing you think the American people don't know or haven't thought about at this time that they should know and be thinking about.

As for Dan Rather Reports -- it's a weekly 1-hour news program which is repeated several times during the week, done for AXS TV we specialize in deep digging investigative reports, cutting edge field reports, international news and politics. What we try to do is cover stories that other people don't cover, or take stories that have gotten some coverage but nothing in-depth. Our mantra is we do a story if we can add value to the viewer. An example, one of the stories we're working on now is a story on the international criminals who prey on elderly Americans with telemarketing and lottery fraud. The program is available on cable, satellite and iTunes.

CharlesBBarkin526 karma

How do you feel about 24 hour news channels ruining news; just talking heads and no actual stories? I mean CNN got rid of their entire investigatory news section, because it wasn't "Profitable". How do you tell real news?

danratherreport1307 karma

well the 24-hour news cycle has contributed to what I call the 'trivialization of the news' - quick hits, at best, little depth, context or perspective. Too much in-studio, programs not enough in the field. It's cheaper, less controversial and of course less substantive. Investigative journalism is expensive, and causes discomfort with the powerful. And that's the reason the amount of investigative journalism is shrinking and not expanding. What CNN just did with its investigative unit has been happening in journalism for awhile.

RadOwl361 karma

Did G.W. Bush skip out on his National Guard duties, as you reported? You really took a beating for covering that story!

danratherreport446 karma

the short answer is yes but i'll post a short video with more detail soon. EDIT: here is the video

TomSwirly146 karma

I'm looking forward to this video.

Many people, myself included, wondered if the whole thing was a trap - to discredit you by planting documents that were forged but that contained information that you strongly suspected to be true from other sources.

danratherreport307 karma

number 1 - the facts of case are not in dispute. Number 2 - no one had ever established that the documents were forged (those who attack them argued that we didn't do enough to demonstrate that they were not forged) The whole documents argument was a camouflage - what was described in the documents was factual. As for the trap argument -- could have been, might have been but nobody has ever proven that. What I know, all I know, is we reported a true story. Whatever you think of the documents, facts are facts. Fact #1 - a young George Bush was put into a "champagne unit" of the Air National Guard through the influence of his father to ensure he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam. Fact #2 - once in this "champagne unit" the young George Bush did reasonably well for awhile and then he disappeared - he just took off. No accountability. He was absent without leave for a very long time. Fact #3 - he never completed his obligation the length of service. He got out well before his time was up.

OneOfALifetime254 karma

How do you handle the stress of reporting during wartime? When you have reported on stories of American soldiers being killed, how did you maintain your composure, even when the story was horrific?

danratherreport511 karma

The short, straight answer is - not very well. No person no matter strong, no matter how experienced, can report on death in combat and not be stressed, at the very least. The best one can do and I've tried to do it, sometimes well sometimes not very well, is to stay focused on one's roll of being an honest broker of information. And try to record video, audio and describe as best you can what happened, how it happened, why it happened. It's impossible for me to fully describe the savagery and madness of war. And it's consequences is not just for the people who fight the wars, but for the many more civilians who inevitably suffer and die. The most difficult thing to convey about combat is the chaos on television and in print descriptions, war always seems much more organized and methodical than it is in the foxhole, in the trench, in the desert, in the jungle. Every combat soldier knows this, and every war correspondent knows it. It is very difficult to convey it to people who have never experienced it.

Salacious-251 karma

What is the one story that you always wanted to report on but it hasn't happened yet?

danratherreport613 karma

I've long wanted to interview the leader of North Korea, first Kim Jong Il, since he died, his son. I'd also love to report from space.

Costco_Law_Degree202 karma

You may be aware of the 'Best in Show' incident at CES where CNET was forced by CBS, its parent company, to remove the Dish Network's Hopper set-top box from its "Best of CES" awards due to ongoing litigation between the two companies.

How many times over your career with CBS did you encounter similar issues, with corporate interests interfering with your ability to report? Can you give one example?

danratherreport297 karma

First - CBS' corporate leadership has been roundly criticized by what they did with the award, and they should have been. Second - at CBS when I was there for many years it happened seldom. In the later years, while not always obvious, it happened more often, as the corporation sought more favor with the powerful in Washington, and powers in Washington sought more favors from the corporation (campaign contributions, lobbying money). Example - handling the true story we reported about President Bush's national guard service or lack thereof.

manbeardave183 karma

Who would win in a fist fight between you and Brokaw?

danratherreport465 karma

I'm going set aside my Texas macho and probably say it would be a no-decision -- it's my way of paying respects to Tom who in all the important ways is tough. EDIT: by the way, I grew up in a neighborhood where the mantra was "there's tough, then there's street tough, and then there's prison tough"

OneArmedNoodler167 karma

What is your opinion of the influence of corporate sponsors on the news? Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be? Or is it very over inflated?

danratherreport362 karma

it exists. it's not for the benefit of the audience, it's for the benefit of the corporations, the commercial interests and their connections with the powerful, especially the powerful in washington. It's not getting better, it's getting worse and while I wish there was somewhat to turn it around, I dont see it happening. And by the way, I wrote about this in my last book Rather Outspoken (yes that's a plug, and if you think it necessary please forgive it).

tuframnedox135 karma

Your name sometimes comes up in accusations of "liberal media bias." How do you (or, perhaps, how can and should the mass media) combat the pervasive idea that the news industry slants to the political left?

danratherreport340 karma

By letting the work speak for itself. Talk swirls, accusations are cheap and easy. Facts and the record are what matters. I think a lifetime of work demonstrates that I'm an independent reporter - fearlessly independent when necessary. And I've tried to pull no punches, play no favorites...I've had troubles with Democratic as well as Republican Presidents and learned that when you report the news without fear and favor people who don't like what you report are going to call you names and stick labels on you. But you know, it comes with the territory, and the best I can do to anyone is check my record. I'll stand on that.

spatula12121 karma

Do you think that there is any hope for moderate Republicans like me to see a return to the sane, responsible, bipartisan governing of yesteryear?

danratherreport149 karma

yes - I think there's at least a reasonably good chance. Reasons: #1 - I'm an optimist by experience and nature. #2 - the American body politic has a history of self-correcting when it goes extreme Right or extreme Left, in the Democrat or Republican party. And I think this will happen in your situation and with your concerns.

ArtimusPyle115 karma

Mr. Rather,

If you could go back into time, and do a Breaking News special report real time following a major event in history, what would be your choice?

danratherreport239 karma

Far back in history when the waters parted for Moses, that would've been a good breaking news story. The Resurrection, that would've been good breaking news. More recently in modern times, the first atomic bomb test and Hitler dying in his bunker.

Brett_Favre_497 karma

What has been your favorite and least favorite news stories that you have covered?

What celebrity are you most sick of seeing on the "news?"

Thanks Mr. Rather.

danratherreport463 karma

I've been so blessed and lucky, I can't pick just one. I love, and was deeply impressed, covering the work of the late Mother Teresa in Calcutta. What she and the nuns and others who helped her, what they were doing with the children including many infants there, was moving and inspiring. The release of Nelson Mandela after roughly a quarter of a century in prison in South Africa, and the classy and eloquent manner in which he handled that on the first day when I was there and moving forward was a never-to-be-forgotten memory. Any time I've covered American fighting men and women at war, it's left a deep and moveable memory. I'm dedicated to, but at the same time always dread, covering stories of deep and abiding poverty, whether in India or sub-Saharan Africa, or the squalor of some South or Central American country.

As for your second question -- the list is long. You can start with Lindsay Lohan, to Paris Hilton and just go from there. Unfortunately this is part of the trivialization of the news. I would rather walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit than hear another sentence on any of them. EDIT: I see that Lindsay Lohan is currently #1 on Reddit with a picture of her wearing fur and the right to "bear arms", and someone suggested that this is a none-too-subtle message of her support for the Second Amendment. Forgive me, but I have doubts. Somehow Lindsay Lohan and firearms together does not compute. I suspect that if she were given a firearm, she couldn't hit a locomotive from a distance of five feet.

Deeger86 karma

In the 80's you tested the signature line, "Courage", to end your programs, and that didn't last long.

What is the thought process behind coming up with a signature line? Is that something you felt would be interesting as an individual? Or was it related to the network or branding efforts at all?

danratherreport138 karma

some of both, in that it had become the practice for anchors to have a signature sign off. And the network wanted me to have one, and yes, I wanted to have one. 'Courage' was my father's favorite word (my mother's was 'Meadow') I like the idea of signing off with 'Courage' and so I did it. The network brass frankly didn't know whether to bark at the moon, or wind their watch. For reasons that were never clear to me, they thought it was somehow dangerous or at a minimum, inappropriate and it ought to be stopped. I still like the idea. I know my last broadcast on the CBS Evening News, I used it once again.

Cashdog61783 karma

What's the craziest thing you've ever had someone tell you?

danratherreport177 karma

I've heard a bunch of crazy's my full response

G18240 karma

Any updates on the book you're working on?

danratherreport79 karma

i appreciate your asking. I just turned in last night a new epilogue for the paperback edition or Rather Outspoken. The hardback edition came out last May. The paperback edition is due out this Spring and I was asked to do a new Afterward to be added to the paperback edition. So I just turned that in last night (beating the deadline by 6 minutes). It includes some additional material about President Obama's prospects now that he's been reelected. I'm always working on some book project. After, I take a deep breath, take a few days off, and maybe fish a little. I hope to get back to a novel I've been working on since it seems Trigger was colt. I don't know whether this novel will ever get finished, but I enjoy writing between nonfiction books.

soma10710 karma

Back in the day you did a story on Rastafarians and you saw Bob Marley - what was that like?

danratherreport11 karma

this is a great story -- here's my response