Dan Rather by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage.com Dan Rather by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage.com

Dan Rather on Thursday explained that the increasing influence of the government and large corporations on networks' news reporting spurred his decision to poke the Eye with a $70 million lawsuit. "Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive, with the level of big corporate and big-government interference and intimidation on news," he said on Larry King Live.

Relating the topic to his being cast as a "scapegoat" by CBS in the wake of his controversial story on President Bush's military service, he said, "They sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain, and in so doing... they undermined a lot at CBS News."