Recently departed CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson appeared with Howard Kurtz on Fox's Media Buzz on Sunday. Kurtz said her forthcoming book is titled “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.” Kurtz asked her to define those forces.
"I think any journalist who has been covering Washington for a few years would agree… that there is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before." (Video below)
ATTKISSON: Now there’ve always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration I assume, when they don’t like a particular story. But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect, and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it — why put on these controversial stories that we’re going to have to fight people on, when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?
Kurtz asked why CBS didn’t have interest in Benghazi and other scandals. "I think that’s part of a broader trend that’s happening, not just at CBS, but there seems to be the last couple of years much less interest in what I call original, independent, and in-depth reporting that hasn’t been seen elsewhere."
Attkisson said she would sometimes be told her bosses loved a story, but “It never runs. Or it dies the death of a thousand cuts, as some of us say. If it’s something they don’t want, it will be changed and revised and shortened and altered so much that it’s a shadow of its former self if it does air.”
Kurtz asked how Attkisson feels about the charge of liberal bias leading to soft coverage of Obama. “The press in general seems to be very shy about challenging this administration, as if it’s making some sort of political statement, rather than just doing our job as watchdogs,” Attkisson said.
ATTKISSON: I didn’t run into that same kind of sentiment [at CBS] as I did in the Obama administration when I covered the Bush administration very aggressively, on its secrecy and lack of Freedom of Information responses, and its poor management of the Food and Drug Administration and the national laboratories, the Halliburton-Iraq questions of fraud. I mean, there was one thing after another. The bait-and-switch of TARP, the bank bailout program. All of those stories under Bush were met with a good reception. There were different managers as well, but no one accused me of being a mouthpiece for the liberals at that time.