NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik arrived late to the story of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson on Monday’s Morning Edition. He found former NBC reporter Lisa Myers to agree with Attkisson’s point about TV news in the Obama years: “Overall, the mainstream media has been less eager to hold this administration accountable than it was to hold the Bush administration accountable.”
But Folkenflik also turned to how "Detractors say she sees conspiracies too readily." Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple lashed out at Attkisson’s “act” of leaving CBS News:
ERIK WEMPLE: I don't buy her act. Especially the act of leaving CBS and emerging to basically call out her supervisors and call out CBS News for not having the guts to publish her stories.
That sounds harsh, questioning Attkisson’s sincerity. Wemple then blogged: “Just to clarify: This blog is fine with people calling out their former employers; the problem with Attkisson’s recent media tour, however, is that she hasn’t provided much in the way of specifics to support her claims, which would seem de rigueur for a journalist.”
Wemple should look again at what Matthew Balan explained at NewsBusters: The journalist hadn't reported about the Benghazi attacks during a five month-plus period between November 23, 2012 and May 8, 2013. Her next report on the issue didn't come until September 16, 2013 – almost four months later. CBS also ignored Attkisson's September 2013 scoop on Secretary of State John Kerry's refusal to let the Benghazi survivors testify.
Folkenflik then suggested that Attkisson's theory was hurt by Lara Logan's 60 Minutes report last November on Benghazi, with false testimony from an alleged eyewitness. "Attkisson's larger accusation, that CBS didn't want stories that were tough on Obama, seemingly runs aground on the 60 Minutes report that gave the network its biggest black eye in years."
He then brought Wemple back to rebut the liberal-bias argument: "Right there is some evidence that CBS indeed will stretch its journalistic standards for a hot Benghazi story. So her whole claim is sort of contradicted by one of the biggest media stories of the last year."
Folkenflik wrapped up by noting Attkisson’s contributing to the news site Daily Signal, “a creation of the conservative Heritage Foundation. Attkisson says she contributes there, only on a story-by-story basis and isn't motivated by ideology.”
This is coming from Folkenflik, who promoted Ezra Klein’s Vox site in a story in January without any liberal label. Last October, he promoted "crusading advocate" Glenn Greenwald, and even that never drew a "liberal" or "left-wing" identification of any kind.
Folkenflik is best known for being obsessed with the "cruelty" of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, having written a book-length probe called Murdoch’s World. But he somehow thinks that doesn't make NPR look liberal, either -- even after Juan Williams was fired by NPR for being on Fox.