Dan Rather and the Bible – What do they have in common?

About 3,000 years ago, God spoke to Moses and commanded that two identical goats be taken up to Mount Zion, and that a lottery be cast: one goat was deemed “to God” and sacrificed as a sin-offering; the other was sent to the wilderness (Leviticus 16:7-11). The goat that was to be sacrificed represented the “good” self -- free to pursue Godliness – as symbolized in the goat whose destiny was to be offered as a sacrifice in the Sanctuary. The other goat was not considered an “offering” but rather a “bribe” or “gift” to the Satan. It symbolizes the source of “evil” and was sent away.

This is where the original term “scapegoat” was derived, according to some theologians who recently compared and described the similarities of the word scapegoat with Dan Rather.

Question #1: is Dan Rather being used as the “scapegoat” to CBS?

Question #2: Have you ever used people in your business as “scapegoats” to avoid the truth or to manipulate a situation in your favor?

Question #3: Can you, as a business owner or senior manager, admit to your own mistakes and not name someone else as a scapegoat?

According to Timothy Rutten at the Los Angeles Times, he feels differently …

"Central to the defendants' play to pacify the White House," the suit contends, "was to offer Mr. Rather as the public face of the story and as a scapegoat for CBS management's bungling of the entire episode -- which, as a direct result, became known publicly as 'Rathergate.' "

Now, if you once had thought of yourself as situated at the heart of the journalistic universe for nearly half a century, and suddenly found yourself 75 and toiling for an obscure cable operation that seemed to generate more press releases than viewers, it probably would be much more satisfying to see yourself as the victim of an intricate, high-level conspiracy than as someone undone by the kind of personal screw-up that would make a first-year reporter blush.

The problem is that there's more than one guy's injured vanity at play here. In fact, the adjectives that come to mind as you assess the substance of what Rather now has done are wanton, reckless and irresponsible. Let's put aside the fact that Rather has no evidence that the network's owners were anything but understandably embarrassed and angry at having their single most recognizable journalist air something as incompetently put together as the "60 Minutes" segment in question. Let's ignore any questions over why Thornburg and Boccardi -- two men with unimpeachable reputations in their respective fields -- would join a conspiracy to "get Dan Rather."

So what should business managers and owners do if they “screw up” and need a scapegoat?
1. Do not blame other’s for your mistakes.

2. Call a meeting of top managers together and ask your secretary to “hold all calls.”

3. During this senior management meeting, begin by saying “In order for our company to move forward, often times we must take risks and act quickly. Sometimes these actions don’t turn out as we had hoped. This is the case when I tried to implement xyz and it resulted in the following …”

4. Remember that we are all human and make mistakes. Be able to admit your mistakes and faults and your co-workers and management team will respect you, rather than hate you for falsely blaming someone else. Don’t make others your scapegoat!

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