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What If Tucker Carlson Were On That Panel Looking into Rathergate?

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

George Will says he would never do it.

Lou Dobbs calls it “a novel idea” but can’t imagine doing it.

TuckerC_11.10.jpgTucker Carlson says he’d do it in a heartbeat.

Will, Dobbs and Carlson, along with 20-plus other conservatives, were apparently on CBS’s list of potential candidates in fall 2004 for its investigative panel on Memogate, the New York Observer reports.

CBS, of course, eventually selected former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and ex-AP chief Louis Boccardi to pass judgment on Dan Rather – now suing his former employers for $70 million.

Newsweek’s Will, CNN’s Dobbs and MSNBC’s Carlson all say they were never contacted.

Had he been, Will is unequivocal in his response. “I’m not interested,” he says. “It’s not what I do. I’m a writer.”

Dobbs isn’t so sure. “The approach is novel, and I’m flattered to be on such an illuminating list. But I can’t imagine participating.”

Not so for Carlson. “I wish they would have called me. I would have done it in a second.

“I think Dan Rather had an effect on how people see journalism. If it turns out that he participated in perpetuating a hoax, it’s important to know that. It makes people think less of all of us.”

Carlson insists he bears no animus toward Rather and that he feels his pain.

“I’m not going after him because he’s a leftie. I’ve always wanted to know exactly what happened. I only care about preserving the reputation of mainstream journalism. He hurt it in a big way.

“Everybody makes mistakes… When you do, you have to immediately…admit it and try to make it right. You shouldn’t blame it on some nonexistent conspiracy. If you’re dishonest, the whole system falls apart. No one believes you anymore.

“Dan Rather shouldn’t be doing journalism. He should be selling aluminum siding.” (Rather did not respond to emails for comment.)

Carlson, meanwhile, is barely visible on MSNBC these days. His contract has expired and there’s no talk of a new one. As a “campaign correspondent,” he only appears on “Morning Joe.”

Off camera, he’s a busy guy — making speeches, writing two pieces for Esquire and a weekly column for Tina Brown‘s new website, “The Daily Beast.”

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