There has been a lot written about a Politico piece that ran Wednesday in the wake of a Washington Post profile of CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. The Post profile was mostly positive, painting the picture of an intrepid reporter willing to take on the story of a terrorist attack in Libya in the face of enormous pushback from the Obama White House. The Politico piece, however, was nothing more than unsubstantiated gossip meant only to tarnish Attkisson.
The Post profile was a well-deserved and long overdue acknowledgement. Although the Post didn’t say so, Attkisson has also shown bravery in her willingness to step up where her colleagues either refuse or are too scared to go. Libya is a legitimate story about a White House coverup. But for purely partisan reasons, the media won’t touch it for fear it will damage Obama and/or Hillary Clinton.
In other words, Attkisson is showing a rare willingness to stray from the media’s Narrative Plantation. But when you do this, there is always a price to pay, which likely explains the Politico piece.
The real story in the Politico piece is not only that Attkisson is apparently unable to get her reports about Libya on the air at CBS, but that there is obviously a campaign within CBS to destroy the Emmy winners’ public reputation.
Here is what CBS sources told Politico’s Dylan Byers. I have emphasized the most relevant portion:
CBS News … has grown increasingly frustrated with Attkisson’s Benghazi campaign. CBS News executives see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue, network sources have told POLITICO. Attkisson can’t get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized.
Byers uses the term “sources,” which means that more than one person at CBS is attempting to use the digital pages of Politico to smear Attkisson — not only as difficult to work with, but as someone with an integrity issue when it comes to investigative journalism.
The unsubstantiated claim that Attkisson is “wading dangerously close to advocacy” is a very serious charge to make against an investigative reporter. But where is the proof? Where are the examples? Did Byers ask, or was he just happy to be the instrument that poured the poison into the reputation of a respected journalist who dared step off the Narrative Plantation?
What is being done to Attkisson here, unfortunately, is not at all surprising. Over the past few months I’ve witnessed the media engage in a form of blackballing directed at anyone who dares step off this zealously guarded Narrative Plantation.
Just last week, even though he has made a number of high-profile errors recently, the error that almost did Howard Kurtz’s career in was the one aimed at Jason Collins, the NBA player who just came out as gay. Collins was in the middle of his celebrated reign as the media’s Politically Correct Hero of the Week when Kurtz clumsily tried to drop a little rain on the parade. Error after error after error, but it was this one that stops Kurtz’s world?
That is no coincidence.
Earlier in the year it was no less than Watergate legend Bob Woodward who got the blackball treatment after he stepped all over the Narrative the media and the White House were conspiring together on to blame the GOP for the sequester. Woodward dared to remind the world that months ago he had reported that the sequester was Obama’s idea and that Obama was now attempting to move the goalposts on tax increases.
Woodward then reported that the White House had attempted to intimidate him over his reporting.
Granted, Woodward might have been guilty of playing up the “intimidation,” but the punishment from his media colleagues surely didn’t fit the crime. Afterwards, and for days, almost the entire media-complex howled in this legend’s face with ridicule and even went so far as to question the integrity of stories he had written decades ago. Those who weren’t howling were just as complicit in their cowardly silence.
Just as Kurtz’s real crime wasn’t his latest error, Woodward’s real crime wasn’t his exaggeration. Both men were found guilty of bucking The Left-wing Narrative, and for that their careers and legacies were pummeled into near extinction.
In the case of Attkisson, the media can’t even point to a sin, so they just namelessly spew unsubstantiated gossip around her that Politico (a Narrative Plantation Overseer) is more than happy to spread.
And since Attkisson’s reporting on Libya has been impeccable, we all know what Attkisson is really guilty of: daring to dig into a legitimate story with a legion of unanswered questions whose answers might derail the media’s 2016 plan to crown Hillary Clinton the First Woman President.
This kind of public retaliation against the likes of a Sharyl Attkisson also has the added benefit of sending a message to the rest of the media: “Stay in line or this will happen to you.”
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC