Dan Rather shares his passion for reporting with Port Arthur aud - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Dan Rather shares his passion for reporting with Port Arthur audience

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Dan Rather's visit to Port Arthur Tuesday was not his first to the Golden Triangle.

The veteran newsman says when he was fourteen, he lived in Beaumont for two to three weeks.

That's when the Texas native was clearing brush for a pipeline surveying crew.

Sixty-eight years later, at the age of 82, Rather was back in the area to share stories about his years as one of the nation's most recognized journalists.

Rather has been a reporter since 1950, 24 of those years, he served  as the main anchor for CBS News.

He continues to work currently as the managing editor and anchor of a television news magazine called "Dan Rather Reports" on AXS TV.

On Tuesday, he spoke as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series at Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

Before his speech, he held a candid news conference with local reporters.

During the news conference he was asked about the Kennedy assassination, Hurricane Carla and even 60 Minutes botched report on the Benghazi Attack.

That report led to CBS placing correspondent Lara Logan on leave.

Rather said, "I want in no way to add to CBS News' difficulties.  They have questions to be answered, they have problems, I know what it is to be in the vortex of controversy."

Rather was referring to his own issues with a story for 60 Minutes.  In 2004, Rather did a report questioning President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard Service during the Vietnam War.

The report cost Rather's producer Mary Mapes her job.  Rather himself says CBS took him off the anchor desk and eventually fired him for the story.

But he continues to stick by the story, and accuses CBS' parent company at the time of caving in to political pressure.

In Port Arthur Tuesday, Rather told reporters, "Our story was true then, has been true ever since, the attacks were on the process, not to the truth of the story."

Rather accuses corporate owners of the media of politicizing and trivializing the news.

He said, "I think we need a spine transplant, we need some grit and yes some courage to do quality journalism of integrity."

Rather himself says he continues working on becoming a better reporter.  He said, "I want to be a great reporter, I don't think I've achieved that yet, but I'm still working full time to try."

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