Sharyl Attkisson to Fox News: Obama Has 'Chilling Effect' on Journalism

Sharyl Attkisson to Fox News: Obama Has 'Chilling Effect' on Journalism

Sharyl Attkisson, the investigative journalist who resigned from CBS News after 20 years with the network, appeared on Fox News’ Media Buzz on Sunday and expressed her utter frustration with CBS’s disinterest in reporting on the Obama administration’s scandals. She also noted that Obama’s attempts to stifle the media has had a “chilling effect” on journalism.

During the April 13 appearance, Attkisson told Fox that she faced little opposition from the network when investigating George W. Bush’s administration but during Obama’s years she found CBS was disinterested in delving too deeply into White House scandals.

Attkisson said that the network’s practice was to enthusiastically run a piece or let it “die the death of a thousand cuts” with multiple edits or to gut the report so much that it was a “shadow of its former self if it does air.”

The reporter made herself a network target by looking more deeply into Obama and Hillary Clinton’s failures in Benghazi, as well as the failed “gun walking” program called Fast & Furious where the ATF and FBI lost hundreds of guns that later turned up in the hands of Mexican narco terrorists–some of which were also responsible for the deaths of Americans. Her “Gun Walker” report won the CBS Evening News the Radio and Television News Directors Association’s National Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Investigative Reporting in 2012.

But on March 10, Attkisson announced her resignation from CBS over the increased resistance she faced in the CBS newsroom.

The reporter wasn’t only concerned with the obvious bias she confronted at CBS, though. Attkisson also told Fox that she was alarmed to find that Barack Obama is in such aggressive opposition to freedom of the press.

Attkisson said she is fully aware that previous presidents and administrations have pushed back against the press when they felt that a story had not been properly reported, but Obama has been far more aggressive in confronting and bullying the press than past administrations.

“There is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before,” she said.

It is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it–why put on these controversial stories that we’re going to have to fight people on, when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?

Attkisson also criticized the White House for playing politics with every single bit of information that past administrations disseminated without artifice.

“Rather than providing the information that I think they’re required to provide, the public information that we own and answering questions, it’s just a lot of obfuscation, accusations, saying things are phony scandals, bogus, not real, giving misinformation and false information… and then modifying it when they’re caught doing so,” she said.

The reporter also called the White House’s constant interference in the news and its demands to edit reports “a tedious process that results in very little real information.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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