Once known as The Reporter the White House Hates, Rather has done stories far removed from the Oval Office, and in this fast-paced rerun of his fifteen years toiling in the vineyards of CBS, he covers his career from Hurricane Carla in Houston--it got him the CBS network slot--to the civil rights wars of the early Sixties, London, Vietnam, and an improbable trek into the Himalayas to check on rumors of Chinese troop movements. ""In the midst of mourners a reporter can feel his pulse race,"" Rather reflects. The first radio bulletin announcing JFK's death was on his say-so, and throughout he gives a sure sense of being on top of stories, being close to the action--even in Vietnam where travel was by aerial hitchhiking, always at the mercy of the choppers. ""A good journalist does not become part of the story he covers,"" he avers, reporting that he took no pleasure in being singled out as Nixon's special bete noir, The professionalism is surely admirable, though a certain veneer of glibness goes with it. Yesterday's headlines--and how one correspondent carrying his gear in a yellow CBS grapefruit bag dug for them--have limited interest apart from the anecdotal elan Rather brings to them. The Palace Guard (1974) focused a harsh spotlight on the Nixon entourage, just then being carted off; this is something of a picaresque tale, entertaining in bits and pieces, but devoid of the kind of historical judgments that help journalism transcend the events of the moment.