Veteran newsman Dan Rather denounced Fox News as "state-run media," but he stopped short of calling Donald Trump a worse president than George W. Bush.
The longtime CBS News anchor lost his job in 2005 over his reporting on Bush's military service records, which he later defended as "fake, but accurate," but he refused to say whether Trump had done a worse job, reported The Daily Beast.
"I’m going to duck that question — and I’ll tell you straight-up, I’m ducking it — because I really haven’t thought of it in those terms," Rather said. "I do agree that with the George W. Bush presidency, No. 1, going into Iraq was a strategic mistake of historic proportions, and that combined with the economic crash, those two things happening under his watch, drag heavily down his standing."
"But the reason I’m taking a pass on the question is because we’re not finished with the Trump presidency," he added. "George W. Bush had two terms, and there were things you could point to — attacking AIDS in Africa, for example — that were good. President Trump has just passed two years of his first term, so we need to see the Trump years, however short or long they turn out to be, in their totality."
Fox News helped boost Bush's standing among conservatives during his presidency, but Rather said the network had gotten even more partisan and misleading under Trump.
"It’s a fact: This is the closest we have come to having state-run media," Rather said. "If someone wants to argue, 'Well, it’s not state-run media' — which it virtually is — it’s certainly the closest we’ve ever come in this country to having a state-run media, a straight-up propaganda outlet."
He said the network employed some quality journalists, such as Chris Wallace but he said their opinion programs acted as Trump propaganda.
"If you look at it on the whole," Rather said, "particularly their primetime programming, you have the beginnings of a state-run media. I think it’s beyond that. By any objective analysis, this is by far the closest we’ve come to Radio Moscow."