I don’t know Sharyl Attkisson.
I’ve never met her.
But I have met a few reporters like her in my 37 years in the news business.
They are my heroes. They are my professional compatriots. They are the embodiment of why our Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, created special constitutional protections for the press for the first time in the history of the world.
In case you are unfamiliar with the name Sharyl Attkisson, let me bring you up to speed.
She was a longtime CBS reporter who, over and over again, demonstrated her relentlessness (a critical characteristic of good journalists along with curiosity and a commitment to being a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions) in pursuit of the truth.
She did it when she covered the Benghazi scandal.
She did it when she covered Fast and Furious.
She did it when she covered Solyndra.
She did it when she covered Obamacare and dozens of other big stories.
Attkisson never had an ax to grind. She wasn’t motivated to pursue the truth by a political ideology. Her agenda was always the same – doing good journalism, which, at least in part, requires a determination to expose waste, fraud, abuse and corruption in government no matter who is perpetrating it or allowing it.
I love reporters like Attkisson, and I always have. It’s a privilege to work with them. It’s a privilege to see their work. It’s an honor to be in the same profession.
It’s also unconscionable what happens to such muckrakers who do their job without fear or favor. In her case, at the top of her profession, she hit a wall of political correctness – not just in government but in her own newsroom and corporate media boardroom. It made it nearly impossible for her to do her job in the way real reporters must do their jobs. She could have continued to collect her nice paycheck and win kudos and admiration from her colleagues and the public. But that’s not what Attkisson was all about. It’s not what any reporter’s reporter is all about.
Stopped from asking the tough questions and pursuing the big stories, she quit CBS.
Now she has offered a tell-all book that should be read by every American of conscience to see what has become of corporate journalism – how it has crept into bed with government and the political establishment it is supposed to watchdog.
Her new book is called “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.” My only regret is that it’s not a product of my own publishing company.
If you want to understand the kind of unprofessional cowardice and whoredom that reigns supreme in the Big Media, read this book. If you want to understand how overwhelmingly partisan the Big Media are, read this book. If you want to know how honorable journalists are dishonored in the Big Media, read this book.
Here are a couple of examples:
- While working on a story that raised questions about the American Red Cross disaster response, she was told by her CBC boss: “We must do nothing to upset our corporate partners … until the (Viacom/CBS) stock splits.”
- She writes about how “CBS This Morning” airs thinly disguised infomercials on such “news stories” as TGI Fridays’ all-you-can-eat appetizer promotion or a Doritos taco shell sold at Taco Bell.
While pursuing the Solyndra scandal in which a green energy shell company received hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in politically connected Washington handouts, she was asked by her boss: “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”
Understand that I love my profession. I never wanted to do anything else. While I don’t know Sharyl Attkisson personally, I know she is just like me in that regard. It hurts to see a worthy institution undermined by unworthy practitioners.
The American founders believed that a free and self-governing society could only last with a vibrant watchdog press serving as a non-government check and balance on power, offering a last line of accountability when all the internal checks and balances fail.
That last line of journalistic accountability and integrity is under attack like never before in my lifetime.
We all owe Sharyl Attkisson a debt of gratitude for blowing the whistle on this despicable betrayal of our profession and our mission.
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