Attkisson: CBS News too “ideologically entrenched” to air stories critical of the Obama administration

posted at 8:01 am on April 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

CNN’s Brian Stelter broadcast a two-part interview with former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson to review her accusations of political bias at CBS News — and to take on the critics she has acquired over the last year or so. Attkisson told the Reliable Sources host that the departure of top executives in the wake of Katie Couric’s flop brought in “ideologically entrenched” managers who resented her investigative reporting on the Obama administration (via Jim Hoft):

STELTER: Let me read this from “The Washington Post.” This is in March 10th, right around the time you were resigning from CBS. And Erik Wimple wrote, according to a CBS News source you felt you were being kept off “CBS Evening News” because of political considerations. Did you feel that way? I mean, were there political considerations at times?

ATTKISSON: You know, it’s fairly well discussed inside CBS News that there are some managers recently who have been so ideologically entrenched that there is a feeling and discussion that some of them, certainly not all of them, have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value.

STELTER: So you’re saying they are liberal or Democrats?

ATTKISSON: I don’t know what their registered party is, I just know that the tendency on the part of some of these managers who have key influences has been they never mind the stories that seem to, for example, and I did plenty of them, go against the grain of the Republican Party, but they do often seem to feel defensive about, almost, personally defensive about stories that could make the government look bad. Even if it’s something as simple as a government waste story that doesn’t pinpoint anybody in particularly and it takes on both parties. It seems as though some of them were sensitive about any story that might appear as though it criticizes the government.

STELTER: A couple of news story about your resignation cited one particular executive, Patricia Shevlin, who was executive producer of the “CBS Evening News”, as someone that you clashed (ph) with. Is that an example of someone you felt had this ideological stand and was uncomfortable with stories about the administration that were unflattering.

ATTKISSON: Pat Shevlin was the executive producer of the “Evening News”, and I think there’s no secret that there were a number of people at CBS News that had some serious issues, but it wasn’t isolated to that alone. I think –

STELTER: You said serious issues. What do you mean?

ATTKISSON: There were discussions about certain types of stories that got on the air. There were discussions about the heavy-handed editing. In other words, we had not experienced — at least I had not experienced and some of them said they had not experienced the extent to which some of the editing went on.

That may not be just her. There are certainly a group of managers in what they call the fishbowl of New York who are responsible. So, it’s hard to say it’s all at the guidance of her, but that she is executive producer of the show.

In the second part of the interview, Attkisson took on her critics — including Media Matters, which she suggested may have gotten paid to target her:

ATTKISSON: I do think, again, that’s a campaign by those who really want to controversialize the reporting I do so you wouldn’t listen to it, because if anybody took a few minutes really just do a Google search, you would see the dozens and dozens of stories I’ve done that were, in many cases, complemented by liberal press and other liberals as being a very good story, and I have been criticized by the conservative side in the past.

So, I think it wouldn’t take — it wouldn’t take much for someone –

STELTER: Do you think that’s what Media Matters is doing? Media Matters has been campaigning against you and saying you’ve been inaccurate in your reporting, is that what they’re doing? They’re just trying to controversialize the issue?

ATTKISSON: Media Matters, as my understanding, is a far left blog group that I think holds itself out to be sort of an independent watchdog group. And yes, they clearly targeted me at some point. They used to work with me on stories and tried to help me produce my stories, and at some point –

STELTER: That’s interesting.

ATTKISSON: Well, I think they call — don’t they call you? I mean, they call journalists and they’re trying to –

STELTER: Right, they’re always emailing things, making us –

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: — try to act outraged about something, right?

ATTKISSON: And I was certainly friendly with them as anybody, good information can come from any source. But when I persisted with Fast and Furious and some of the green energy stories I was doing, I clearly at some point became a target, that they — you know, I don’t know if someone paid them to do it or if they took it on their own. But they were very much –

STELTER: Do you think that’s possible that someone paid them?

ATTKISSON: Well, they get contributions from — yes, they get contributions from –

STELTER: But specifically to target you?

ATTKISSON: Perhaps, sure. I think that’s what some of these groups do, absolutely.

Does it really go that far? It’s possible, I suppose, but it seems a little far-fetched. Media Matters goes after any media outlet and any story that reflects poorly on the Obama administration. The problem for Attkisson is that she was one of the relatively few reporters willing to pursue in-depth investigative work on Operation Fast & Furious, the disaster of Healthcare.gov, and especially on Benghazi. Jan Crawford at CBS is another, and she got the same treatment. That’s more or less Media Matters’ mission — to act as media bodyguard for the Obama administration — and Attkisson, Crawford, and anyone else who dares to speak a little truth to power will get targeted as a matter of course.

The link to the departure of Couric is a little intriguing, especially since conservatives generally derided Couric for the same kind of bias and lack of hard-news instinct that Attkisson now reveals at CBS News. The change in executive management after the failure of the Couric era seems to have spelled the beginning of the end for Attkisson. Perhaps for conservatives, this is a case of being careful what one wishes for, or maybe just a moment of clarification by CBS about what kind of news division it really wanted after Couric’s departure. After all, someone hired the new “ideologically entrenched” management of which Attkisson ran afoul, and they don’t appear to be going anywhere in the wake of her accusations.


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Comment pages: 1 2

rrpjr on April 21, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Name calling and then complaining about the lack of cooperation. You can’t get a better game plan than that.

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 1:16 PM

I have said for a long time, the media doesn’t report news they create it. They create what they want. Dan Rather’s response to a question as to why he stopped to report on several protesters outside a Nixon campaign stop said “i’ll decide what the news is.” That’s all you need to know.

rjoco1 on April 21, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Face it, we’ve had a left wing takeover in this country, and they don’t like opposition. They’ll pull any trick behind the scenes to crush their opponents.

oldennis on April 21, 2014 at 8:40 AM

These are people who want power. When they get it, they intend to use it to Rule.

trigon on April 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM

“ideologically entrenched”

The real story here is not that the main stream media is ideologically entrenched with leftist libtards, we all know that,…

… but that their ideology fails every time it’s tried.

That is where the spot light should be…

… Everything they believe in has been implemented by Obowma, and look at the results.

We are living in the “New Normal” hell of high gas, food, and energy prices, over regulation, government agencies being used to silence opposition, Common Core in the schools, our military being gutted while weak foreign policy has set the world on fire…

… They never talk about the outcome of their ideologically driven policies, only their intentions.

They spin the news to reflect success, but all anyone has to do is look around at the reality and their failure is apparent…

Why no discussion of the failed ideology?

Why no discussion of the truth?

Seven Percent Solution on April 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Seriously, for some reason Shep has always given me the creeps. Even before his anti-Bush rant at the Morial Convention Center after Katrina.

Happy Nomad on April 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Murdoch and Ailes know most viewers can’t stand Shep Smith. Keeping him on board is their way of giving conservatives “the finger.”

bw222 on April 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM

To the credit of Fox News’s management, they’ve moved Shemp into a management position where viewers don’t have to see him very often.

slickwillie2001 on April 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I’ll blame William Jefferson Bly Clinton.
We’re it not for his smooth persuasive methods the folks in Arkansas (including the Presstitutes who ignored his picadillos) would have understood and not returned him to the governors office. That gave the 60′s radicals a foot in the door and has led us to the possibility of a return via KILLARY. And she don’t bake cookies … just her enemies.

Missilengr on April 21, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Does it really go that far? It’s possible, I suppose, but it seems a little far-fetched.

“The Left is at war with the Right
and the Right thinks it’s having a political discussion.”

– Anonymous Hot Air contributor

Cleombrotus on April 21, 2014 at 1:58 PM

When you give the benefit of the doubt to those who later prove to have exploited that benefit to operate to objectives that they did not put on the table here is what you do: no longer give them that benefit.

They are USING your kindness whenever you do.

So, instead of that, make these people EARN your trust through honest reporting and being transparent about where they are coming from. And give only those who have demonstrated that they deserve the benefit of the doubt, that single benefit on their reporting. Once betrayed never, ever give it to them again.

You’ll find that you won’t be giving that benefit many times and that you will always listen to hear what the slant is that they refuse to tell you about openly, but want to imply it through ‘objective’ reporting. They aren’t reporting in an objective manner by being honest with you. They are abusing your kindness and using it against you.

It is your fault if they take you in after that, not theirs.

ajacksonian on April 21, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I think disgust of Shep is a lot higher among the male population than the female. He doesn’t bother me but I don’t care that he isn’t very masculine. There are plenty of other masculine guys around.

crankyoldlady on April 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM

I’m a guy and I couldn’t give two [whits] about “masculine” and “feminine.” I’m just not big on his on-air demeanor.

I’m a litle concerned that some conservatives might think she’s one of them and when she does a story they don’t agree with they’ll turn against her. All I expect of any journalist is fairness and professionalism.

crankyoldlady on April 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Agreed.

bmmg39 on April 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

crankyoldlady on April 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

At this point I’m just glad to see that she is letting it be known that there are road blocks to stories. I hope I would be equally offended no matter the administration misbehaving. I never gave the pardoning of Richard Nixon much thought but in retrospect it sure is looking like a bad idea for the ultimate freedom of Americans to trust the people who supposedly work for them.

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Shemp Smith proved his drama queen status with his Katrina fit of pique.

Whenever he’s on tube everything he says may as well be:

“Miss Scarlett, Miss Scarlett! I don’t know ‘nuthin ’bout birthin’ no babies.”

viking01 on April 21, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Media Mutters….

Do we know who finances them, and that leads to the question would these financiers still continue to write the checks if Media Matters took another tack in their coverage of current events?
So, Yes, it would seem that a lot of what they do is the result of strings that those checks dangle from.

Another Drew on April 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Does it really go that far?

I think you are over-thinking this a bit, Ed. Media Matters is paid to influence the news. With barry they go over-the-top frothing mad with any non-helpful story about the Government…any part of the Government.

And with W they feed tips to reporters to destroy him…and the RINO party

And she has affirmed what everyone knows…if you are a leftist then no story that makes leftism or any part of the GOVERNMENT look bad will show up on the air.

the media are a significant part of the left-wing machine.

r keller on April 21, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Next thing you know, CBS will run a series of character assasination stories about Attkisson. Circle the wagons-time. It’s what liberals do….

Bob Davis on April 21, 2014 at 3:50 PM

The real story here is not that the main stream media is ideologically entrenched with leftist libtards, we all know that,…

… but that their ideology fails every time it’s tried.

That is where the spot light should be…

… Everything they believe in has been implemented by Obowma, and look at the results.

We are living in the “New Normal” hell of high gas, food, and energy prices, over regulation, government agencies being used to silence opposition, Common Core in the schools, our military being gutted while weak foreign policy has set the world on fire…

… They never talk about the outcome of their ideologically driven policies, only their intentions.

They spin the news to reflect success, but all anyone has to do is look around at the reality and their failure is apparent…

Why no discussion of the failed ideology?

Why no discussion of the truth?

Seven Percent Solution on April 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Post of the week!!!

Bob Davis on April 21, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Kinda ironic she trashes Obama’s Praetorian guard to another member of the club. Surprised CNN would even air such a story being part of that click.

CommieJuice on April 21, 2014 at 5:13 PM

I would like to see her go to work for Fox News and have her own program. She certainly has the good looks to be on Fox.

tmgrant on April 22, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Comment pages: 1 2