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Dan Rather's Carry-On Baggage

(Damian Dovarganes - AP)

"Some of what you describe as 'baggage,' " he told one critic, "comes from people who have the following view: Their view is, 'You report the news the way I want it reported or I'm going to make you pay a price and hang a sign around your neck saying you're a bomb-toting Bolshevik or something.' "

Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban, who sat nodding during most of Rather's comments and even applauded him once, has his own equally colorful reputation as a rabble-rouser; he's been fined for bad behavior courtside during games.

This, he suggested, makes him the perfect employer for Rather.

"I've been painted into so many corners, I'm out of corners," Cuban told the critics. "I'm not concerned at all because the work will speak for itself." He said he'd already been inundated with e-mail from Rather detractors and assumed they were pretty worn out by now.

Cuban said he was thrilled to have Rather on board: "Now that he is finally released from the ratings-driven and limited-depth confines of broadcast television, I am excited about the impact Dan can have on the future of news."

Rather choked up several times during the more than hour-long Q&A session, when talking about his legacy and specifically about his role model, Edward R. Murrow.

He declined to comment on a report in the Hollywood Reporter that he's in discussions with American Online about doing work for its Internet news service, other than to say he was interested in other opportunities. However, he said, that his first, second and third priority is HDNet, which is available in about 3 million homes.

* * *

Tragedy has touched Summer TV Press Tour 2006 early.

Shannen Doherty, here to plug her new Oxygen show in which she helps people out by breaking up with their main squeeze for them, was brought to tears when a TV critic asked if she was trying to change people's opinion of her.

The actress gained a reputation of being a super mega diva during her run on "Beverly Hills, 90210" that was only enhanced by her stint on "Charmed."

"I'm not trying to alter anything," she said. "I've answered this so many different times. The only thing I can do in my life is be myself and live it the way I want to live it whether people accept it or not.

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