• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
APR
20
4 MOS

Sharyl Attkisson: CBS News Resistant Toward Criticizing Government, Corporations

UPDATED: Appearing on CNN, the investigative correspondent also described a CBS News culture where "ideologically entrenched" managers were hesitant to portray the Obama administration negatively.

Sharyl Attkisson Headshot - P 2011
Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson leveled strong, but carefully worded, criticism on Sunday against her former employer CBS News, describing a pattern where stories that painted the Obama administration or corporate interests in an unflattering way faced resistance at the network. 

"It did get to the point were there was not a lot left for me to do," Attkisson reiterated about her employment during an interview with Brian Stelter on CNN's Reliable Sources. The investigative reporter alleged a culture among some sectors at CBS News that was hesitant toward airing a story critical of the government and singled out "the producers that decide what gets on a program during a given day."

She also noted that in the past several years stories that were favorable to the Obama administration were likelier to be embraced by CBS News producers. "We had an almost total change in management in the time after Katie Couric left, the top managers who were very into the stories of government waste and government oversight all of them left at one time," she said.  

STORY: THR's 35 Most Powerful People In New York Media

 

"It's fairly well-discussed inside CBS News that there are some managers recently who've been so ideologically entrenched that there's a feeling and a discussion that some of them -- certainly not all of them -- have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value," Attkisson said.

Attkisson announced her resignation from CBS News on March 10, ending a career with the network that spanned over two decades. As an investigative correspondent at CBS, she reported aggressively on the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal and the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya. She was nominated for a 2013 Emmy in the investigative journalism in a newscast category for her work on a report titled "Libya: Dying for Security."

Attkisson has been critical of CBS since her departure, expressing similar displeasure in an interview with Howard Kurtz during his Fox News media show on April 13. "There seems to be a visceral reaction to doing stories that could ruffle feathers, whether it is certain people in the political spectrum or even corporate interests," she told Kurtz. "I think there has come to be a narrowing universe of stories that are desired by the broadcasts, and it leaves us sometimes I think with newscasts that don't dig very deep."