University of Texas ripped as 'Orwellian' for naming journalism award after Dan Rather

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The University of Texas was ridiculed Wednesday after its communications school announced a series of journalism awards named after disgraced former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather.

UT's Moody College of Communication tweeted Wednesday that it was introducing "the Dan Rather Medals for News and Guts to recognize collegiate and professional journalists who overcome obstacles like stonewalling and harassment to speak truth to power."

"Dan Rather is not only a legend — he’s the namesake of new awards honoring his career and the work of today’s journalists," Moody College of Communication Dean Jay Bernhardt tweeted.

Rather, a Texas native, was forced out of the CBS anchor chair in 2005 after using unauthenticated documents in a 2004 report claiming that George W. Bush had gone absent without leave from the Texas Air National Guard. He has enjoyed a recent career renaissance thanks to his folksy, far-left Twitter persona and standing among media correspondents like CNN's Brian Stelter.

Online critics lambasted the university for bestowing the honor on Rather, whose downfall is considered a seminal moment in the collapse of trust in traditional broadcast media.

"This is certainly Orwellian," the Media Research Center's Dan Gainor tweeted.

"One of the less discussed bizarre developments of our time is the self-appointed gatekeepers of the craft of journalism – along with Hollywood – just closing their eyes and wishing away the infamous CBS memo story and fake documents. It really is as if it never happened," tweeted National Review's Jim Geraghty, referring in part to the 2015 film "Truth" whose dramatization of the scandal dubbed "Rather-gate" was condemned by CBS.

The Daily Wire's Ashe Schow wrote the news felt like something out of the satirical news publication the Babylon Bee.

In October, Rather drew criticism when he mocked Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's originalist judicial philosophy as the same as wanting to go back to using "leeches for medicine."


Years before his CBS career imploded, Rather played a starring role in former correspondent Bernard Goldberg's 2001 book "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News," which accused Rather of bringing a hostility to conservatives into his reporting.

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