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Mark Cuban takes a stand for Dan Rather

Dan Rather still has Mark Cuban in his corner.

Back in June 2006, when the former anchor’s 44-year career at CBS News imploded over his flawed 2004 report on President Bush’s National Guard service, Cuban helped to break the fall by hiring Rather to report for his high-definition channel HDNet.

And now that Rather has filed a $70-million lawsuit against CBS and its top executives (including CBS Corp. Chairman Sumner Redstone and President/CEO Leslie Moonves), Cuban is standing by him.

Given that Rather claims the network impugned his journalistic bona fides by making him the fall guy for the much-maligned report, how does Cuban feel about the newsman’s reputation?

“All I care about is that Dan does great work for us, which he does,” he wrote in an e-mail message.

Although Dan Rather Reports is available to only 6 million HDNet subscribers, Cuban says that it “blows away any news show on CBS, including 60 Minutes. His work stands on its own.”

The outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team—and contestant on this fall’s season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars—had more choice words for CBS, comparing the network’s treatment of Rather to that of embattled former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight.

“They handled the situation wrong and so did CBS,” he fumed. “Why would any organization ever treat a long-term employee the way they treated Dan?”