Kurtz: I can't believe Rather could be this stupid

Really? I can. Go read this NYT profile of him from last year and soak in the pathos of the former anchor of the CBS Evening News, now of, um, HDNet, sitting alone in a theater watching “Good Night and Good Luck,” doubtless with tears welling up repeatedly. If it were anyone else I’d dismiss the whole thing as a stunt to squeeze CBS for a settlement, but Document Dan doesn’t need the money. He’s 75 and swimming in dough. He wants his Edward R. Murrow halo back and this is the only shot he has to get it.

It’s going to be ugly.

Several former colleagues said they were baffled by the move. “I think he’s gone off the deep end,” said Josh Howard, who was forced to resign as executive producer of “60 Minutes II” after CBS retracted the story. “He seems to be saying he was just the narrator.

“He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It’s laughable.”

Rome Hartman, a former executive producer of “CBS Evening News” who now works for the BBC, said: “It’s got to be about this lasting sense of hurt and pride. I was flabbergasted. I just don’t get it.”

Rather’s lawyer, Martin Gold, said last night: “Dan is bringing this lawsuit to restore his reputation. He’s not doing this for the money,” he added, saying that Rather would donate most of any court award to journalistic causes…

Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS correspondent and a sharp critic of Rather, said yesterday that the former anchor is a great reporter, “but the dark side is that he’s unwilling or incapable of accepting responsibility. . . . This is the man who signed off his newscast with ‘courage,’ and now he’s alleging ‘they made me do it, they just put the words in front of me.’ This is ridiculous on so many levels.”

I don’t mean to revel in the misery of a guy who makes more in a month than I will in a lifetime, but there’s a distinct possibility of a Queeg-like scene on the witness stand if this thing reaches trial. Imagine him rolling the metal balls in his hand. Imagine it.

9 p.m. ET tonight, Larry King Live. Oh, you’d better believe we’ll have video. Exit question quotation: “[N]obody’s proved the documents were forgeries. The way we look at it, it’s more than likely the documents are authentic.”