Dan Rather Returns to CBS After 18 Years: ‘I’ve Missed It Since the Day I Left’ | Video

Former CBS anchor Dan Rather returned to CBS on Sunday after bitterly departing the network 18 years ago. Rather, who spent 44 years covering world events for CBS, exited after a botched investigation into former President George W. Bush’s military service.

The journalist came back ahead of the release of his Netflix documentary on Wednesday.

“Without apology or explanation, I miss CBS,” Rather told Lee Cowan at the beginning of the segment. “I’ve missed it since the day I left there.”

Of his exit, Rather admitted that he’s still hurt. “In the heart of every reporter worthy of their name, Lee, there’s a message that news, real news, is what somebody, somewhere, particularly somebody in power, doesn’t want you to know,” he said. “That’s news.”

Leaving CBS was his “lowest point,” he continued. “I gave CBS News everything I had. They had smarter, better, more talented people, but they didn’t have anybody who worked any harder than I did.”

Rather was also asked about the state of journalism today, a question he was quick to reply to. “Let the record show that I paused,” he said.

“The people who are practicing journalism today are so much better than those of us who came up here another time. They’re better educated. They’re more knowledgeable about the world,” Rather continued. “They want to do the right thing. They’re doing the best they can.”

Rather’s 2005 departure followed a botched investigation into then-President George W. Bush’s military record. Rather’s report relied on documents that could not be verified, and though he was not the person who introduced the documents that questioned Bush’s Vietnam-era involvement in the military, he was the anchor who led the investigation to air.

Rather stood by his reporting again in 2005. The story alleged that Bush avoided service in Vietnam by being accepted into a special unit of the Air National Guard, and the anchor said the facts of the story were correct.

“They couldn’t attack us on the facts so they changed the subject very successfully from the truth of the story to how we got to the story,” he told CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Rather was forced to apologize on air in September 2004. In the segment, he first had a confrontation with former national guardsmen and Bush critic Bill Burkett, who had originally provided the documents in question. Burkett denied forging the documents, but did admit he lied about where he got them from.

The anchor then apologized to the audience directly. “This was an error made in good faith as we tried to carry the CBS News tradition of asking tough questions and investigative reporting,” he explained. “But it was a mistake.”

Rather wasn’t the only representative of CBS involved in the investigation. It was later revealed that the network producer who worked on the report connected a senior advisor to John F. Kerry, Bush’s rival for the presidency in 2004, to Burkett. Joe Lockhart, who worked as a senior advisor for Kerry’s campaign, denied any involvement with the report.

Watch the interview with Dan Rather in the video above.

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