Sharyl Attkisson

Former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson unleashed bold words in her testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Obama attorney general pick Loretta Lynch, warning the nominee she needs to “chart a new path” from the administration’s record of treating reporters like “enemies of the state.”

Now Attkisson has turned to Twitter to double down on her claims.

In a string of Tweets sent out only two days after her testimony, Attkisson argued, “A free press is under threat today for many reasons,” and, “Many journalists have provided their own accounts.”

In response to some of the testimony at Lynch’s hearings, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., scoffed the approval process was turning into a “soundbite factory for Fox News and conspiracy theorists everywhere.”

Attkisson’s Twitter flurry, however, argues it’s much more than just Fox News claiming the White House has been hostile to the press. She offered her nearly 77,000 followers a string of examples, some she offered in her testimony, others new, all in the abbreviated jargon of Twitter users:

  • “[The] White House punished C-SPAN after C-SPAN defied White House demand to delay airing a potentially embarrassing iview w/Obama
  • “50 news orgs, incl CBS and Wash Post wrote White House objecting to unprecedented restrictions on press that raise constitutional concerns
  • “A New York Times photographer likened White House practices to the Soviet news agency Tass
  • “Former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie called the Obama War on Leaks ‘by far the most aggressive’ he’s seen since Nixon
  • “David Sanger of the New York Times called this ‘the most closed, control freak administration’ he’s ever covered
  • “New York Times public ed Margaret Sullivan said it’s ‘the administration of unprecedented secrecy and unprecedented attacks on a free press’
  • “ABC News correspondent Ann Compton called Obama ‘the least transparent of the seven presidents’ she’s covered.
  • “Bill Maher: Obama ‘perhaps the worst’ on press freedom
  • “‘I don’t understand why he is perhaps the worst president we’ve had on clamping down on the press,’ Maher said.”

Attkisson further commented, “But, in fairness, we could all be wrong.”

“The message has already been received,” Attkisson challenged in the confirmation hearing. “If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state.”

She concluded, “Freedoms of expression and association are of course protected by the Constitution. Today those freedoms are under assault due to government policies of secrecy, leak prevention, and officials contact with the media, combined with large scale surveillance programs. The nominee if confirmed should chart a new path and reject the damaging policies and practices that have been used by others in the past. If we aren’t grave enough to confront these concerns, it could do serious long-term damage to a supposedly free press.”

Watch Attkisson’s testimony below:

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