Earlier today, I spoke with former CBS News on-air correspondent Sharyl Attkisson in an interview that first appears on The Ed Morrissey Show this afternoon. Our conversation focused mainly on the legal actions taken by Sharyl and her attorney against the Department of Justice and the allegations that her computers had been hacked by the agency, as well as the media response to the story.
This story actually begins more than a year and a half ago, and the media has spent much of that time criticizing Attkisson for not pointing the finger publicly on the nature of the hack. Now it’s clear why Attkisson felt the need for caution and discretion. “I was trying just to be careful in what I said,” Attkisson tells me, “and not get too far out in front of what we knew.”
The media treatment of Attkisson’s story hasn’t improved much since. “Many of them are engaged in the propaganda tactics whether they know they’re doing it or not,” Attkisson says. “Instead of questioning authority, they’re questioning and shouting down those who question authority.” Rather than applying scrutiny to the wrongdoers, they’re “turning on” the whistleblowers and victims of abuse of power.
Among these is Dylan Byers of Politico, who quipped yesterday on Twitter that taking legal action was a publicity stunt. “If you believe U.S. gov hacked your computers this isn’t the way you go about doing it… if you want publicity, on the other hand,” Byers wrote. I responded by asking him, “She’s filing an admin claim and going to court. How else would you deal with it?”
As of yet, I have not received a response, and Attkisson alleged that Byers has a personal animus that drives his commentary on her situation. When Byers asks her questions based on Media Matters reports and she doesn’t respond, “he harangues me, ‘So you won’t answer the question?’ and he writes it up,” Attkisson says. “When he raises his own question and people ask him to answer it, he won’t answer it.”
Attkisson says she likes Dylan, “but he constantly calls me and asks me for comment on various things, and when I answer him, he then prints it and claims that I’m seeking publicity.” As to why that animosity exists, Attkisson believes that it stems from criticism she leveled at Politico. “I think he’s still sore that I called out Politico when they wrote an article on a Stonewalled book party that gave the misimpression that it was a giant conservative affair[.]” Attkisson says Byers got “fairly enraged” about it; “he emailed me personally about it, said it was ‘not wise’ for me to have done such a thing,” Attkisson recalls. “I won’t say he threatened me,” she continues, “but he did imply that something would happen if I continued along those lines, and maybe this is what he meant.”
There’s plenty more, so if you missed this in today’s show, be sure to watch the whole thing here:
Sharyl’s new book Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington is available on Amazon and at book stores now. Her independent website can be found at this link.