MediaWatch: July 1989

Vol. Three No. 7

Rather Unfair

In the midst of media-driven controversy over the RNC memo, CBS News anchor Dan Rather delivered a spurious shot at the GOP. In the June 11 "Presidential Portrait," a minute long prime-time public service series, Rather blamed the Republican Party for the death of President Andrew Jackson’s wife. Rather explained "the victim of the political mudslinging" in the 1828 race "was the Democratic candidate’s wife, Rachel, who was slandered as an adulteress." Jackson went on to "a sweeping victory, but the strain of the campaign was too much for Rachel. She died of heart failure." Rather concluded: "Rachel’s husband never forgave his Republican opponents."

Rather neglected to explain there was no connection between opponent John Quincy Adams’ National Republican Party of 1828 and the modern Republican Party formed 26 years later.