Traditional media needs a spine, Dan Rather says

In a scathing rebuke of America’s mainstream media, former CBS anchor Dan Rather bemoaned the state of political coverage Tuesday afternoon, in the midst of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Rather told a group of new media journalists and progressive activists that conventions have evolved into “infomercials” for both their parties and the candidates, with traditional media failing to dig beyond the pomp and circumstance.

“I think the best story here is who gives the big money to who expecting to get what,” Rather said.

He spoke at the Big Tent in lower downtown Denver, an online media gathering spot during the DNC, sponsored by progressive activist groups, Google and alternative media groups — including the Center for Independent Media, Colorado Independent’s parent company.

“Much of the press rolls over and plays dead,” Rather told the group, saying that the country needs independent reporters like them, especially during the current election cycle.

He deplored the media consolidation of the last quarter-century and said the path back to news that truly impacts Americans’ lives will involve more voices, more aware media consumers and more journalists with intact spines running large media organizations.