CBS producer sues over Rathergate response

With Rather gone, the lawsuits begin.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 10, 2005 1:38PM (EST)

Dan Rather may have signed off for the last time last night, but that won't be the end of Rathergate. On Rather's last day anchoring the CBS Evening News, CBS producer Esther Kartiganer started something new: a lawsuit against the company.

As the New York Times reports this morning, CBS chairman Les Moonves publicly criticized Kartiganer by name in January, when CBS released the findings of an independent panel assigned to figure out what went wrong with a report on George W. Bush's National Guard service. Moonves said then that Kartiganer's job was to compare scripts against interview transcripts to make sure comments from sources were being used fairly and accurately. "It is difficult to understand how a person of Kartiganer's toughness and experience abnegated her assigned function, but the fact is that she did, and CBS News is the worse for it," Moonves said in a statement posted on the CBS Web site.

In the lawsuit she filed yesterday, Kartiganer alleges that Moonves' comments defamed her. She also alleges that she is a victim of age discrimination. Kartiganer, who is 67, said she has been demoted and replaced by an employee 20 years younger.

Kartiganer still works at CBS. According to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Viacom, the parent company of CBS, said in a statement that Kartiganer was transferred to a new position because of the findings of the independent panel. The spokesman said that Viacom was "confident that all of the actions we have taken are entirely appropriate and lawful."

Well, maybe not all of them, but we know what he means.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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