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Romenesko led me to this post in American University’s The Eagle blog, which dovetails nicely with some of the reading I’ve been doing for the social roles class this week.

In a recent visit to the AU campus, Dan Rather articulated a distinction between “the press” and “the media.” The press focuses on news with a constitutional mission at its core — i.e., the press as watchdog — while the media’s coverage of news is designed to generate profit.

“We can’t let journalism sacrifice itself on the altar of entertainment,” he said.

There’s some irony in Rather’s comments, of course, given his departure from CBS after concerns were raised about documents he used on “60 Minutes” to question President George W. Bush’s National Guard record. The former anchor couldn’t resist a dig at CBS head Les Moonves for “sleazing up” the venerable news show after Rather left.

Still, I say “amen” to his take on press vs. media.

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