Fact Check

Dan Rather Ends Retirement to 'Topple' Donald Trump?

We can't say Rather ever "retired," as he has continued to work since leaving CBS News in 2004, and he has not said that his goal is to bring down Trump.

Published Jan 27, 2017

 (Helga Esteb / Shutterstock, Inc.)
Image Via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock, Inc.
Dan Rather has come out of retirement as a newsman to "topple" the Trump administration?
What's True

Dan Rather has launched a new social media-based project called "News and Guts."

What's False

Rather has worked consistently since leaving his position at CBS News in 2006 and said he launched the "News and Guts" project to counter fake news and misinformation.

In late January 2017, blogs began publishing celebratory posts that made it sound like legendary Watergate newsman Dan Rather was returning to the field to defeat President Donald Trump in a David and Goliath-like show-down.

One headline reads, "BREAKING: Dan Rather Ends Retirement, Announces Historic Project to Topple Trump":

Respected news icon Dan Rather launched a Facebook page to counter the lies and “alternative facts” from Donald Trump. As with so many of us, he had enough of the garbage from Trump and the news media.

The Facebook page, “News and Guts,” will report honest, hard-hitting news. The media needs to follow Rather’s lead and begin telling the truth and not repeating the lies from the Trump Administration.

Rather did launch the Facebook page (called "News and Guts") in early 2017, but his description of the newly-formed group's mission was not to "topple" Trump or anyone else so much as to counter misinformation that he says ratcheted up along with Trump's election. He also said that he wished to take a stand against Trump's combative tone toward journalists:

Together, on this Facebook page, we have built a community that I know values real news. But there is only so much I can share and on which I can comment. Take a week like this week, where the news of the confirmation hearings is coming fast and furious. There are far more articles that deserve your attention and great reporters who I would love to spotlight.

I got into news in the first place to be part of something noble and bigger than myself. For those reasons, I am starting a second Facebook page called News And Guts, a digital news feed of sorts. It's also the name of my digital news and production company. The goal is to inform, innovate, and inspire. This Facebook page will be under the stewardship of a very talented group of reporters who work at my company. These are men and women who know real news. They've reported with me around the globe from dangerous and difficult datelines. I trust them and so should you.

You may find the tone of the page a little more free-wheeling than mine but we also want this to be a two-way street. Share with us your thoughts or articles or stories you want us to cover.

In an era of fake news, false equivalence, and too much fluff, let's take a stand together to demand better, and bring attention to all those doing great work. Please click here: News And Guts, give the page itself a like, and let's jump into a new experiment.

"News and Guts" appears to so far be a curation of news stories from credible sources, paired with commentary and tips on how citizens can actively participate in government. The web site also serves as a central hub for Rather's work. To be sure, many of the posts are critical of President Trump, but the now-85-year-old Rather became famous as a reporter by taking on the Executive Branch directly.

Rather has not retired; he has continued his journalism work since leaving CBS News in 2004:

I got my start in print, then moved into radio and local television news, before joining CBS News in 1962. I had the honor of covering many big stories, from the Civil Rights Movement, to the Vietnam War, to the vast criminal conspiracy known as Watergate. In 1981 I assumed the position of anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News - a post I held for 24 years. My reporting was featured across the network from 60 Minutes to 48 Hours. Upon leaving CBS, I returned to the in-depth reporting I always loved by creating the Emmy Award winning primetime news magazine and documentary program, Dan Rather Reports on the cable network HDNet. Currently I am the host for The Big Interview, on AXS TV and my independent production company is developing high-quality non-fiction and narrative content across a range of traditional and digital distribution channels.

Rather made his name as a young reporter covering the Vietnam War from the battlefields and for going toe-to-toe with powerful politicians, and has been accused by right wing publications of having a liberal bias. In 2004, Rather left his post at CBS amid accusations that an explosive report on "60 Minutes" about then-President George W. Bush's National Guard record was not accurate (Texas Monthly published a lengthy investigation into the affair that concluded, broadly speaking, questions remain about the 43rd president's service at the end of the Vietnam War but interest on it waned after Bush's last election to public office).


Learn Progress. "BREAKING: Dan Rather Ends Retirement, Announces Historic Project to Topple Trump."

Jonah Goldberg. "Dan Rather Tries to Dodge the Liberal-Bias Bullet."   Townhall. 6 April 2001.

Murphy, Jarrett. "CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story."   CBS News. 10 January 2005.

Hagan, Joe. "Truth or Consequences."   Texas Monthly. May 2012.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.