Rather, 88, whose in-the-field reporting has ranged from the assassination of John F Kennedy and the civil rights struggle, to the Vietnam War and the presidency of Richard Nixon, said the way Trump demonized the media, and the impact this had on society, was like nothing he had seen.
Yet, he also criticized some in the press for failing to confront Trump and call out his lies, and said the biggest challenge for the media may yet lie ahead, on next month’s election day, and in the days immediately afterwards.
“There’s no comparison to be made. We, as a country, as a people or society, have never been through anything like this,” he told The Independent. “And the press has not been through anything like this.”
He added: “The closest thing would be the Nixon years. However, there are great differences between now and the Nixon time. This is unprecedented.”
Rather, who served as the anchor of CBS Evening News for almost 25 years and as such was one of the trio of dominant broadcasters who delivered the news to millions of viewers who tuned into the major networks at the height of their power and influence, has emerged as an acerbic critic of Trump, both in person and on social media.
While his 1.4 million followers do not come close in number to those of Trump, they point to a widespread respect and admiration among at least a swathe of US society.