Echoes of Edward R. Murrow in Sharyl Attkisson's departure from CBS News

CBS News has lost its strongest claim to be a fair and non-partisan news source with the departure of Sharyl Attkisson from the network. The award-winning reporter has been squeezed-out because of her reporting on investigative themes inconvenient to the Obama administration, including Fast and Furious and the Benghazi Scandal – two incidents in which United States government officials lost their lives. In 2013, her total air time on the CBS Evening News was a mere 53 minutes, a third of her air time prior to the Obama administration, when she reported on scandals involving Republicans. In the words of network news analyst Andrew Tyndall, “She was obviously being sidelined.”

What makes Attkisson’s departure a scandal, however, is an obvious conflict of interest at CBS News that directly impacted Attkisson’s access to air time. John Nolte of Breitbart News reported yesterday:

Back in May, Breitbart News reported that the President of CBS News, David Rhodes, is the brother of President Obama's National Security advisor, Ben Rhodes. According to ABC News, Brother Ben was very much involved in the Benghazi scandal, specifically the infamous talking points that -- with the help of the mainstream media -- misled the nation for weeks in the heat of Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Attkisson distinguished herself during the Obama Administration as one of a few mainstream media reporters interested in getting to the truth of Benghazi and Fast and Furious. The rest of the media spent all of its energy attempting to protect Obama from these scandals – pushing back against critical Republicans and alternative media. 

CBS was once known as the “Tiffany Network” – purportedly the highest quality brand in broadcasting. Perhaps the brightest jewel at CBS was Edward R. Murrow, who became something of a demi-god to many broadcast journalists for his fearless reporting on Senator Joe McCarthy, credited by many observers as the turning point in McCarthy’s fall. Because McCarthy assumed the role of principal boogeyman in the mythology of the American Left, Murrow became a hero, an inspiration to subsequent generations of broadcast journalists.

But like Sharyl Attkisson, Murrow eventually resigned from CBS News as his air time dimished because of the controversies his fearless reporting engendered. According to biography of then-CBS President William Paley, the network head said that did not want a constant stomach ache every time Murrow covered a controversial subject. No doubt, David Rhodes has had similar ailments over Atkisson’s reporting on the scandal involving his brother.

Sharyl Attkisson is working on a book titled “"Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington." More likely than not, her in-house interactions, including her contract negotiations with David Rhodes that led to her departure yesterday, will be part of the story.

Edward R. Murrow is so deeply respected today that this list of honors cam be compiled:

Murrow has excellent company in Sharyl Atrkisson. But because the Left dominates so many aspects of our culture today, the brave reporter cannot expect the same panoply of honors, at least not soon. But perhaps when the Obama administration is but a memory, and when the full cost of its foreign policy blunders, its mishandling of the economy, and its disastrous takeover of the health care system are understood, Ms. Attkisson will receive the honors her courage and integrity merit. Perhaps the most fitting award would be the Edward R. Murrow Award.


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