Courts and the Information Order

Dan Rather is suing CBS and affiliated corporate entities for $70 million. Ostensibly, it’s a contract case: CBS promised him something and he says they did not deliver. But the NYT may have gotten the real story right in today’s article when a picture of Rather was captioned

“I’d like to know what really happened,” Dan Rather said of the inquiry that led CBS to force him out as news anchor.”

Sure, it’s a story about a public figure having a somewhat public fight with a former employer. But it’s also a story about the information order and the role that courts play in leveling informational playing fields and redistributing information. The rest of Rather’s quote points us in the right direction: “Let’s get under oath. Let’s get e-mails. Let’s get who said what to whom, when and for what purpose.”

Many will focus on the money here and imagine that the main thing the court can do is decide whether Rather has been materially injured and, if so, how he should be compensated. But perhaps in the case of someone who has made 5 or 6 million dollars a year for part of his career, we’ll give some thought to the issue if he says “it’s not about the money.”

Author: Dan Ryan

I'm currently an Academic Program Director at I've been a professor at University of Toronto, University of Southern California, and Mills College teaching things like human centered design, computational thinking, modeling for policy sciences, and social theory. I'm driven by the desire to figure out how to teach twice as many twice as well twice as easily.

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