Whoever leaked a dire climate change report published by the New York Times this week committed a “pubic service” by releasing information the White House may have suppressed, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather said Tuesday.
“Obviously President Trump and those in his administration didn’t want this information out, but somebody somewhere said, ‘You know what? The public needs to know this,’” Mr. Rather said during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.
“They did a public service by letting somebody in journalism, in this case, The New York Times, know it,” he added.
Mr. Rather’s comment was in response to The Times receiving a draft copy of the 2017 U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Science Special Report published by the newspaper Monday. The report was leaked to the media before it could be approved by the Trump administration, and the scientists responsible said they feared the White House would suppress its contents.
“In our system of government it is absolutely essential, it’s imperative, that you have an informed citizenry,” said Mr. Rather, 85.
He acknowledged, however, that the current administration has suffered from an unprecedented amount of leaks barely 200 days into Mr. Trump’s tenure.
“I can’t remember an administration where you had this many leaks this early in a presidency,” said Mr. Rather, whose journalism career began in the 1950s when President Harry Trump was still in office.
“Every president — some more to a certain degree than others — but every president wants to control the flow of information because they want to accentuate the positive for themselves,” he added.
The Trump administration has leaked persistently since the president’s inauguration, and Senate report published in June put the rate of leaks at an average of one per day.
The climate report leaked to the Times said it’s “extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” and that “there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”
The White House declined to comment for the Times’ article.
Mr. Rather retired from CBS Evening News in 2005. He currently hosts “The Big Interview” on AXS TV.
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