Entertainment

Rather, Moonves in war of words over CBS Evening News

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather stepped up a feud with CBS on Tuesday, saying chief executive Leslie Moonves "doesn't know about news."

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather stepped up a feud with CBS on Tuesday, saying chief executive Leslie Moonves "doesn't know about news."

Moonves had rebuked Rather for remarks he made Monday that the network was "dumbing down" its newscast and "tarting up" its ratings.

Use of the phrase "tarting up" was a sexist remark aimed at Katie Couric, who replaced Rather as anchor, Moonves said.

Moonvessaid he "absolutely" had confidence in Couric and the direction that CBS Evening News was taking.

Rather referred to Couric as a "nice person" in his remarks Monday on MSNBC, but said the newscast is playing up topics such as celebrities in an effort to win ratings and younger viewers.

The newscast, with Couric as anchor, is a distant third in ratings behind NBC and ABC.

On Tuesday, Rather, who now has aforum on the high-definition network, HDNet,said he doesn't regret his remarks.

"It doesn't have to do with Katie, it doesn't have to do with gender," Rather said. "It has to do with the corporate leadership. … Les Moonves knows about entertainment, but he doesn't know about news."

Rick Kaplan, executive producer of CBS Evening News, also complained about Rather's remarks, saying he is slamming former colleagues.

"We are very much a hard news program. I wish Dan was watching more closely," Kaplan said.

Rather left CBS after a controversy surrounding his role in a discredited 60 Minutes story about U.S. President George W. Bush's Vietnam-era military service.

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