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Dan Rather

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 11, 2006

Dan Rather has come and gone. There's some debate over whether he followed Shannen Doherty's tears with some of his own, but it was clear that he choked up some when talking about Edward R. Murrow.

I've written a column about his press conference for tomorrow's Beacon Journal and will post a link later. But I didn't get into a couple of things there. One was Rather's reference to having worked for a living -- meaning tough manual labor when he was young -- and how television is pretty eapressy compared to that. It was interesting to me because I remember him saying much the same thing at a press conference in New York City about 20 years ago. (So many things in my life now come with the phrase ''about 20 years ago.'') It always stuck with me -- as a reminder that, no matter how self-important some TV newsgatherers may get, they're doing it for an audience of people home after a day of genuinely hard work.

The other thing I didn't get into is what a boon Rather is to HDNet. As I said when he left CBS, he was going to end up working somewhere, because network newscasters do. (Ted Koppel will be here tomorrow, wearing his new hat for the Discovery Channel.) And one reason they get work is that they're brand names, and they bring attention to places that might not get so noticed. HDNet is mentioned in a lot of places today, and will be in other places tomorrow, because it had Rather in the house. Even though he has only done a promotional tape for the channel so far, he's already earning his paycheck.

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