CBS FINALLY Returns Files to Catherine Herridge After Seizure, Possible Legal Action

February 27th, 2024 12:03 PM

On Monday afternoon, the New York Post dropped an exclusive that, after a few days of public wrangling and possible legal action, CBS News returned to Catherine Herridge her confidential files — including sensitive material, potentially containing sourcing — after having been seized when she was unceremoniously fired as part of layoffs by parent company Paramount Global.

Reporter Alexandra Steigrad had the story: “CBS News on Monday finally returned confidential files belonging to fired investigative reporter Catherine Herridge amid mounting pressure from the House Judiciary Committee and the union representing the journalist, The Post has learned.”

Steigrad explained that the reason for the whole hubbub stemmed from the fact that, upon being laid off, Herridge’s “personal files — along with her work laptop, which may have contained other confidential info — were immediately confiscated and locked away at” CBS News’s Washington bureau.

In a statement to the Post, CBS said “Herridge’s union representative picked up her materials this morning.” The paper said Herridge herself would be “reviewing the materials,” which would mean she’s combing through everything to ensure nothing was taken.

For their part, Herridge’s union, SAG-AFTRA said they’re “pleased” CBS made this decision following “SAG-AFTRA's intervention and widespread media coverage that underscored shared concerns about press freedom and the First Amendment.”

The Post cited a source as having heard CBS cry uncle and “was particularly rattled when SAG-AFTRA came out strongly in favor of Herridge.”

In other words, CBS messed with the wrong reporter when trying to pull off something unprecedented when it came to a reporter's files that include sensitive details like sources, who risk their lives and livelihoods to share information with journalists.

If CBS wasn’t going to comply, they would have faced more pressure beyond the union taking them to court as, according to the Post, the House Judiciary Committee launched a probe Friday into this chicanery.

Nonetheless, CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews and fellow CBS head honchos “have until March 1 to provide information on who handled Herridge’s files and who ordered them to be retained, among other things.”

Media Research Center Founder and President Brent Bozell had his own thoughts on this story, posting on X:

Steigrad also outlined how Herridge reportedly clashed with Ciprian-Matthews over covering claims of Biden family corruption and this isn’t Herridge’s only problem as she still faces legal peril over a story from her Fox News days (click “expand”):

During her time at CBS, Herridge had encountered roadblocks from higher-ups over her         Hunter Biden coverage and had also clashed with Ciprian-Matthews, a sharp-elbowed executive who was investigated — and cleared — in 2021 over favoritism and discriminatory hiring and management practices, as The Post previously reported.

Some sources speculated that the network may believe Herridge has information in her files that could lead to a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

Others mused that she may have sensitive information — including sources — that are central to her investigation into Hunter Biden.

Currently, Herridge is under fire for not complying with US District Judge Christopher Cooper’s order to reveal how she learned about a federal probe into a Chinese American scientist who operated a graduate program in Virginia.

The journalist may soon be held in contempt of court for not divulging her source for an investigative piece she penned in 2017 when she worked for Fox News.

She could be ordered to personally pay fines that could total as much as $5,000 a day.

As an example of how her work at CBS expanded far beyond Biden family corruption to traditional, shoe-string, traditional investigative reporting that’s all too rare in today’s media ecosystem, the Post cited the US Justice and Advocacy Group as having voiced concern Monday about her firing after having worked with her “last November on an investigation that revealed the National Guard denied 30% of injury claims that are recommended by local commanders.”