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NBC Anchor Apologizes For Saying Rival Aired False Leaks

October 17, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw says he regrets repeating what he called 25-year-old gossip about his CBS rival Dan Rather _ that Rather often reported false stories fed to him by the Nixon White House.

Brokaw said Wednesday he made the ``reckless″ comments in an unguarded moment Aug. 13 during a rehearsal at the Republican convention in San Diego.

The rehearsal was sent unscrambled to a satellite and was taped by Jed Rosenzweig, producer of a New York cable-access program, ``Wild Feed TV.″

NBC said it has sent two letters to Rosenzweig warning him that it would be illegal to broadcast the in-house remark.

Rosenzweig said he suspended his weekly half-hour show to determine whether he is entitled to use the tape, although he said they can be viewed with anyone with a home satellite dish.

Brokaw made the remark at the rehearsal when someone said Rather was reporting Colin Powell would be in a Dole Cabinet.

He said seeing the face of Donald Rumsfeld, the chairman of Bob Dole’s presidential campaign and a former official in the Nixon White House, on a screen at the time triggered his memory of old gossip.

``Rummy used to get even with guys in the White House by leaking stuff to Rather that didn’t have any basis in fact,″ Broker told his colleagues. He added that Rather was ``factually wrong a lot of the time because he was Rummy’s vessel.″

At the time, Rather was beating NBC on the Watergate story, Brokaw said.

``The gossip in the bureau was that Rumsfeld was his pal and _ I’m sure it was envy _ they said that’s how he gets the stuff,″ he said.

Rather declined to comment and Rumsfeld did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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