"All the News

That Rhymes"

The Daily Poem

Weather: Better

Distribution: 3 Printed in Urbana FREE


CBS NEWS hit total embarrassment Friday afternoon when anchor Dan Rather, in full pancake makeup, and Pentagon correspondent David Martin were caught rehearsing coverage of a U.S. bombing run on Iraq—a rehearsal that was mistakenly beamed to television affiliates via satellite!

For 20 minutes, Rather could been seen on the satellite going through the motions of a bombing.

According to one viewer who witnessed the spectacle, Rather at one point described how it was not known how many casualties were caused by the bombings.

"It felt like WAG THE DOG," a senior news producer at a major-market affiliate told us. "I bet the network is living in fear that someone on the receiving end of the transmission had tape rolling."

"It looked like a real broadcast of what was going on," Bill McClure, master control operator at WTAP-TV in Parkersburg, W.Va., an NBC affiliate, told the ASSOCIATED PRESS.

The network wanted to test new graphics and theme music that would be used to cover the story, according to CBS NEWS spokeswoman Kerri Weitzberg. No word on testing camera angles that would work best during February sweeps.


Dan Rather is being slathered in makeup. Ice cubes tinkle and smoke rises from his ashtray and he is thinking about the rehearsal to come. He is thinking about ratings. He is thinking about the fact that he has a bomb in his trunk and might someday choose to blow up this building and when the day comes it will be glorious, like the new war to come. He is thinking all these things and about how rainbows, fucking rainbows, are always so elusive. And the next election and how many days until he retires. He is thinking about lasers and graphics and fonts. He is imagining piloting a B-2 bomber over Manhattan, the black triangle's grace as it banks. He has lived his sexual encounter with Clinton and he is waiting for the royalties wearing speedo briefs in a folding lawn chair poolside. He is saying “it is unknown how many casualties there are.” He is an automaton, he was at Chicago '68 with Kronkite, he is a hairpiece and a teleprompter, he is the rogue nation's history, he is a network jester, he is Ted Turner's old socks, he is an encryption and rhetoric specialist, he is everybody at once. He is thinking about fucking. You are white, male, you have had your title engraved in your tag, you have been delivered with the finest pedigree. You are better than Dan. You are six winds after hours that can't steer you home. You are the flavor of coffee and a timeclock. You are a witless magician working overtime. You are more beers than you can count. You are the news, the commercials, the sitcoms, the talkshows, and the static. You are your television left on all day so you will greet you when you come home from work. You are thirty seconds at a time. You are above it, but you leave it on. Dan Rather is pointing now to a map of the Middle East. Cut to graphics. Theme. Logo. Fade. Dan Rather is wearing a tutu now and he leaps into the arms of Boris Yeltsin. Dan Rather is standing before a blue screen as computers add the explosions and the sounds of pinpoint accuracy. All the dead children are brought back to life, computer-enhanced and well-nourished. Dan Rather gestures expansively, like a gentleman, amidst the ruins of Baghdad. Cut to commerical. A pair of laser-guided Nikes is going down a chimney. There is a mosque and a Big Mac. Cut to theme. And graphic. The casualties are being represented now by a string of computer-generated daisies around Dan Rather's neck. And now the president. Can we get a child staring up adoringly. Doesn't matter which color. Oh, for heaven's sake not a girl, can we cut please? What are the voters gonna think, huh? Can we keep this clean? Cut to a map of the New World Order and theme. Dan... Dan, baby. You look worried, what's up? The cameras? Yeah, we were rolling babe, it was beautiful. Broadcasting? Sure, Dan, that went up. What's the problem? War? What war? Hey, babe, we're just following the script. Relax, man. Hey, can we get Dan a drink? Cocktail? Hey!

Newspoetry at Spineless Books