Report: CBS grumpy that Sharyl Attkisson’s Benghazi scoops are “wading dangerously close to advocacy”

posted at 1:21 pm on May 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

Of course they are. The news department responsible for Rathergate has very exacting standards.

The second Goliath is CBS News, which has grown increasingly frustrated with Attkisson’s Benghazi campaign. CBS News executives see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue, network sources have told POLITICO. Attkisson can’t get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized. That, in part, is why Attkisson is in talks to leave CBS ahead of contract, as POLITICO reported in April.

Farhi mentions “internal conflicts” in the final paragraph, though he seems to dismiss them. The “internal conflicts” are indeed real — Attkisson is still eyeing an exit, according to sources — and provide important context for today’s piece. Today, CBS News is celebrating Attkisson’s commitment to the Benghazi story. A PR representative even encouraged POLITICO to write a post about Farhi’s piece. But that support is an abberation.

If you missed it a few days ago, here’s the most recent example of Attkisson’s hysterical, advocacy-based journalism. But wait: Why, if an outlet like Fox is reporting similar details, is CBS worried about Attkisson’s scoops? To complete the puzzle, let’s read WaPo:

While other media, particularly Fox News, have been similarly skeptical about the official narrative about Benghazi, Attkisson and CBS might put the story in a different light. As a much-decorated reporter from a news outlet often derided by conservatives as a liberal beacon, Attkisson and her network flip the usual script on this highly politicized story. That is, it’s hard to peg her and her network as Republican sympathizers out to score political points against a Democratic president

“I’m a political agnostic,” she says. “I don’t think about who’s good and who’s bad. I just go where the story leads. . . . People can say what they want about me, I don’t care. I just want to get the information out there.”…

As it happens, Attkisson has won recognition for tough stories on Republicans, too, such as an Emmy-winning series on the Bush administration’s bank bailout and an investigation of fundraising tactics by Republican congressmen at a Florida resort last year.

Bingo. For the same reason, the left takes greater exception to the Koch brothers’ interest in buying the LA Times than it would to the Kochs setting out to build their own right-wing paper from the ground up. They can’t stop conservative media from existing, but they can ghettoize it as illegitimate and “partisan” in a way that their own partisan garbage isn’t. The problem with the Kochs buying the Times is that the paper already has a reputation among wider media for being respectable and impartial (giggle). That reputation can and will be retracted by the rest of the press if/when the Kochs take it over, but it’ll take more work to delegitimize it than it would some new Koch start-up. Same with Attkisson: Skepticism about Benghazi is fine for the wingnuts at Fox, but bringing such unhelpful nonsense into an “impartial,” i.e. pro-Obama, outlet like CBS risks lending credence to the GOP’s accusations. The proper line to take on Benghazi is to dismiss the new hearings with a sneer, a la Joe Klein, or, in the case of “impartial” news coverage, to dismiss them more lightly by referencing Hillary’s long-ago whining about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to discredit the Clintons. “Going where the story leads” is unhelpful to liberalism in this case, ergo it’s advocacy by definition.

Ah well. CBS’s loss will, undoubtedly, eventually be Fox News’s gain. Then Attkisson can do her “advocacy” in the proper ghettoized context. I’ll leave you with this, which crossed the Twitter feed less than an hour ago of the famously impartial, very legitimate Washington Post:

See Ace’s latest for why that’s “newsworthy.”

Update: Via the Daily Caller, here’s Scarborough caring a little about Benghazi and caring a lot about making sure that people know those wingnuts have gone kuh-ray-zee in overselling it.


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