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TheStreet Open House

The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

1. Hurricane Dan

Former CBS (CBS) anchorman Dan Rather stormed back into the news this week.

Rather sued his former employer Wednesday in New York State Supreme Court. The longtime face of the CBS Evening News claims the company destroyed his reputation as "one of the foremost broadcast journalists of our time" by failing to stand behind an expose on President Bush's National Guard service. Rather seeks $70 million in damages.

In September 2004, Rather reported on 60 Minutes that Bush had failed to perform some of his National Guard duties and enjoyed preferential treatment from his superiors. CBS withdrew the story after questions arose about the authenticity of some source documents. After initially defending CBS' reporting, Rather apologized , saying that in airing the report CBS "made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry."

Three years later, Rather is still sorry, but for a different reason. The newsman now says the report was accurate. It was his coerced apology that was a mistake.

So why did Rather, who briefly ended his evening newscasts by saying "courage," keep his mouth shut all this time? Because his superiors told him to, the suit claims. Meanwhile, the ungrateful CBS brass sought to make him a "scapegoat" so the network could "curry favor" with the White House.

Those weren't the only injustices visited upon Rather, to go by his lawyers' account. After he got yanked out of the anchor chair in 2005, Rather "was provided with very little support staff, very few of his suggested stories were approved, editing services were denied to him, and the broadcast of the few stories he was permitted to do was delayed and then played on carefully selected evenings when low viewership was anticipated," the suit whines.

Worse yet, consider what happened when Rather asked to go to Louisiana in the fall of 2005 to report on Hurricane Katrina.

CBS "refused to send him," the suit claims, in a bid to further lower his profile by keeping him off the air. The network did this, Rather's suit alleges, knowing full well that "Mr. Rather is the most experienced reporter in the United States in covering hurricanes."

Maybe CBS figured it was windy enough in New Orleans already.

Dumb-o-Meter score: 93. CBS denies the allegations in the suit, calling them "old news."

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