Earlier today Sharyl Attkisson announced on Twitter that she was leaving CBS News. Early reports suggest the split was “amicable” though Attkisson is said to have wanted to leave because she had grown frustrated with the network’s “liberal bias.” Specifically, she felt it was a struggle to get her work on the CBS Evening News, the network’s flagship news program.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post reached out to Andrew Tyndall who was able to put some numbers to the frustration that apparently drove Attkisson out the door:
She hasn’t landed in the top 20 since.
In a quick chat with the Erik Wemple Blog, Tyndall said thatAttkisson tallied a mere 54 minutes on “The CBS Evening News” in 2013, athird of her previous totals. That was good for a ranking of 78th amongnetwork news reporters. “She was obviously being sidelined,” saysTyndall.
So Attkisson did not imagine that her status at CBS had changed, it really did. And given that it changed after 2009 when she started to focus on the Obama administration it stretches credulity to suggest that this was not a primary reason for the sudden change.
The Obama administration has become known for being extremely tough on reporters. There was a failed “war on Fox News” in 2009 which many journalists on the right and left said was a mistake. More recently, the FBI argued in a search warrant request that Fox News’ James Rosen was a “co-conspirator” in an leak, comparing him to an “intelligence officer” for a foreign nation. There was also an incident involving phone records for AP reporters.
Late last year the administration came under fire for refusing to allow non-staff photographers to join the President at certain events. The administration has even been compared to state run media for it’s penchant for pushing out glowing social media bytes about the President.
This morning I quoted the blog of a former Think Progress writer who described how he and others at the site were called in and “berated” by supervisors after the White House complained about criticism of the President’s Afghanistan policy. The writer specifically mentions Ben Rhodes as part of the effort to respond to criticism. As our own John Nolte has pointed out, the President of CBS News is Ben Rhodes brother.
Attkisson is writing a book about her experience reporting the news in the Obama era. Like the rest of her reporting, it should be eye-opening.