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Why Obama’s Flacks Bullied a CBS Reporter

by Keith Koffler on October 6, 2011, 8:37 pm

President Obama’s press office bullies are in high gear, a sure sign that there are legs to the story about Attorney General Eric Holder’s potential perjury before the House Judiciary Committee.

CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson is doggedly pursuing the case, reporting that Holder knew about the Fast and Furious operation well before he said he did under oath last May, when he testified to the panel he’d just learned of it “over the last few weeks.” In fact, it appears, he was told about Fast and Furious in 2010.

A Justice Department spokeswoman and White House spokesman launched at Attkisson what few people realize is a routine Obama administration tactic – attempt to quash good journalism that’s bad for Obama by intimidating reporters. The idea, as I’ve reported before, is to get inside a reporter’s head and make them know that if they write something the White House doesn’t like, they’ll have to deal with abuse.

Ultimately, it’s suppression of speech, by the openness administration. I believe Obama is fully aware of the tactic.

In this case, they attacked Attkisson with the type of manufactured anger and foul language that many White House reporters will tell you is routine. I guess she was shocked, since she’s on the investigative beat and is not regularly in touch with the White House.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview in which she revealed the abuse to radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.

INGRAHAM: So they were literally screaming at you?

ATTKISSON: Yes. Well, the DOJ woman was just yelling at me. A guy from the White House-

INGRAHAM: Who was it?

ATTKISSON: On Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me-

INGRAHAM: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?

ATTKISSON: Eric Schultz- oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler. She was yelling, not screaming-

INGRAHAM: Oh, really?

ATKISSON: And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at the White House.

ATTKISSON: They will tell you that I’m the only reporter- as they told me- that is not reasonable. They say ‘The Washington Post’ is reasonable, the ‘LA Times’ is reasonable, ‘The New York Times’ is reasonable- I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it. And my side of the story is- and I never knew where this story was going when I talked to those whistle-blowers back in January and February- and I didn’t care where it went. I’m just, sort of, digging away and going where it leads. But I’m sure they take it very personally, because it’s very important- they have very important implications.

Such tactics as this were rare in both the Clinton and Bush White Houses.

These Obama flacks are not just reacting with visceral anger to the story. They are specifically trained and encouraged to do this. Most of them are actually quite nice to be around when they’re not in Kill the Story Mode. Though it does take a certain type of person to pull this off.

Let’s hope it doesn’t chill her reporting. I’ve been on the receiving end of it several times when I was a mainstream press White House reporter, before I started this blog. It’s not pleasant, but I understood it was just a tactic. I was only outraged that aides to the president of the United States were trying to suppress speech.

If Ms. Attkisson understands it’s nothing more than a tool being used against her, it shouldn’t affect her. Anyway, her Facebook profile says she’s a third-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo, so I doubt she’ll be intimidated by the relative ninnies in the press office.

It should only affect her in that she should understand there’s a good reason they’re doing it: she’s onto something big and doing it in a way that scares them. The higher the volume of the screaming and the more sickening the language, the closer she’s getting.

{ 11 trackbacks }


Just2old October 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Gof bless Ms. Attkisson, keep up the pressure and great work.

Rosie October 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm

The intimidation has worked. I wasn’t able to cut and paste, but the story is at the Weekly Standard. It seems CBS has assigned spokespeople for Attkisson.

Rosie October 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

She was on O’Rielly last night. She’s holding her own and the investigation continues.

Star October 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

O’Reilly said this kind of intimidation was rare–tried to get her really fluffed up about it, but she downplayed it. I saw some of it in DC. It happens.

srdem65 October 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Of all the messes and fiascos that this administration had to deal with, this one seems to make everyone nervous. Nervous enough to try to bury the story a nd for MrHolder to act dumb in front of Congress makes everyone suspicious.
The whistle-blowers the reporter heard from in January didn’t just tell her that this operation started from the top but rather why and who and what the end result was meant to be.

This administration is paying an awful lot of attention to Arizona and spending a lot of effort to make things difficult for us. Per a Politico piece, the Prez, himself, called the former SurgeonGeneral, RichardCarbona, who lives in Tucson to persuade him to run for the US Senate seat being vacated by SenKyl next year. The Fast&Furious gun running didn’t have to be situated in Arizona, California and Texas also border Mexico.

Star October 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

Carmona has some skeletons…just sayin’.

bettyann October 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

Why does everyone forget New Mexico? :(

dave October 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Unfort, she has probably reached the pinnacle of her reporting on F&F. I surmise the C-BS execs have placed a phone call to her. It was nice though to see a random act of journalism while it lasted.

Susan October 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm

CBS is not granting interviews with Sharyl Attkisson after the Ingraham interview was widely circulated via Drudge and the blogasphere. On his show today Rush Limbaugh mentioned someone should check on her to make sure she is okay. Turns out she had just posted a story, so his fear was unfounded. The story was on Obama’s claim to have no knowledge of F&F, so it appears the intimidation tactics aren’t working . How refreshing to know there is at least one other reporter like you Keith. Journalistic ethics and integrity are rare traits nowadays. Still think she should watch her back. Obama has filled his administration with fellow travelers. I’ll bet many of these people have radical roots, and they are prone to violence when cornered.

Mike C October 7, 2011 at 4:12 am

I thought CBS was shutting her down????

Panz October 7, 2011 at 4:22 am

I think the real story or at leas the other story was the fact that they named the organizations that turned a blind eye and didn’t inquire or report.

Susan October 7, 2011 at 9:34 am

You are absolutely right Panz. The big three state-run media have been determining what is fit to report – or not – for many decades. Thank goodness their time has passed…

Sharyl Attkisson told Laura Ingraham…
“[The White House and Justice Department] will tell you that I’m the only reporter–as they told me–that is not reasonable. They say the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.”

porcorosso October 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Yeah, it is reasonable to drink your Kool-aid. It’s healthy.

Dan October 8, 2011 at 5:17 am

That was exactly my reaction too. That means the Post and LA and NY Times had been in contact with the White House and agreed to help cover up the story.

Tom Poole October 7, 2011 at 6:05 am

Aside from the blatent violations of law, both US and International, that F&F has been there is the overiding fact that the administration is complicit in (at least) manslaughter and probably murder. And yet Holder goes on.
To impeach Obama would be a waste of time, Ried and his cronies would never convict without a gun in his hand and a body at his feet, but I don’t see why it would not be feasible to bring a sealed indictment, to be served the minute the next POTUS is sworn, for conspiracy against the Gov’t of Mexico and against the people of the US. This was/is an attempt to enact major gun control nationwide through fraud. Such people we have in office!!

Robin H October 7, 2011 at 9:21 am

I wouldn’t mind an extradition to Mexico for them to prosecute. I hear their jails are a bit more rustic than ours.

bettyann October 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

Robin H – amen to that.

Eh2Zed October 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Rustic….I almost blew coffee out my nose.

Louise October 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Same here- but wine! Anyway- as Glee sang in last year’s season….’heads will roll!’. Clinton was impeached and what he did seems trite compared to this. There are officials in our govt, some elected and some appointed and/or confirmed that put in motion that is not only responsible for at least 2 deaths of American citizens while serving our country, but the deaths of 100s of citizens of our bordering neighbor. And it’s not over. There are still guns and killers out there related to this! Heads will roll, heads will roll. I predict Holder will resign…on a Friday afternoon, late in the day, and soon.

Mark Jensen October 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm

There is no reason he can’t be indicted NOW. Nor extradited. Contrary to his self-image, he is not above the law, even though he seems to think he is above the Constitution.

anneinarkansas October 7, 2011 at 9:29 am

Attkisson was on FOX last night and talking. I wonder if she left CBS.
Glad to hear about the Black Belt…she might encounter a Chicago Thug with a baseball bat.

Knothead October 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I knew way back when I first heard of this story from Ms.Attkisson that things were goona(sic) get tough for her eventually. I immediately called my honorable Representative Kevin Brady (R) Conroe, TX. and let them in on the news. The staff had not heard of this yet but were informed early by me when this story first broke.
Eric Holder must go for allowing this travesty of justice. If he didn’t know like he said, then he should be fired for incompetence for not knowing. Or for lying as he stated he didn’t know.
Oh, excuse me Mr. Obama (if that is your real name) incompetence is a requirement to be a member of your good ole boys club.
KeithKoffler 2020 a man with vision

azGranny October 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

This morning nine AZ Sheriffs are holding a press conference calling for Holder’s resignation and that he be charged with accessory to murder for any future deaths linked to Fast and Furious. I won’t hold my breath for Holder to resign but he should be behind bars.

Keith Koffler October 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for letting us know abou this.

Ken Puck October 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Straight out of the Alinsky playbook, along with shouting down speakers in the public square, kicking suspect reporters off the press plane/bus, and “talking over” interviewers on the telly. These people have concluded that civility will avail them naught: If the other side is intimidated or simply can’t be heard, then they win by default. For window dressing, paper over this behavior with liberal doses of “the marketplace of ideas.” Goebbels would be proud.

A reporter October 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Brad Dayspring.

Maureen October 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm

The Obama White House expects more from CBS and usually gets more

PoliticalPlot October 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

What is amazing is that CBS bigshots haven’t been screaming at Ms. Attkisson. Perhaps they weren’t before, but are now. Regardless, whatever this reporter thought was her private life before I’m sure will be splashed all over the frontpage of WaPo fairly soon…

John In Michigan October 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

If you’re taking flak you must be on target.

The Obama gang is just doing what works for the syndicate, er party, in Chicago. The problem is they think they can get away with murder and perjury on a national scale. Will they?

moderateGuy October 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I am guessing CBS which is trying to muzzle Atkinson on orders from Sputnik Obama White House never heard of Fox News, Juan Williams, etc…

yellowbelly October 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Reminds me of a show i saw on tv, how Hitler and mussolini came to power. Same tactics, shout them down, threaten the TVor radio station that the reporter works for, lateron arrest them as enimies of the state. Name any dictator, they all follow the same rules. I hope CBS doesnt cave.

Alan October 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It’s this kind of reporting, from Ms. Attkinsson, that will re-energize the press. I hope so because it’s needed and people want to believe the news – they don’t now.

Mark October 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Wasn’t Lewis Libby convicted for less than this? It seems to me the statement that got him was something like, “When I heard it, it was like hearing it for the first time.” Patrick Fitzgerald called this throwing sand in the umpire’s eyes. Seems to me Holder was much more obstructionist.

Erin Thurston October 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

So where will the media be now..??? Does the degree in journalism mean anything anymore? Will anyone else challenge the president and democrats now???

polijunkie100 October 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

You do understand that Journalism schools are leftist indoctrination centers now?

No Lawyers October 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm

And Atkinson will join all the others that report anything that is not favorable to His Highness. At best she will maybe end up in a not-so-visible position. What happened to George Stephanopoulos on ABC who had the bad habit of asking tough questions and pushing for answers. – goodbye Sunday AM show in morning prime time. May she keep on reporting. Not too many of the breed left in MSM.

porcorosso October 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm

“A Justice Department spokeswoman and White House spokesman launched at Attkisson what few people realize is a routine Obama administration tactic – attempt to quash good journalism that’s bad for Obama by intimidating reporters.” Few people realize it because the media generally promotes the phoney image Obama presents. He’s an Alinskyite political thug with a professorial veneer. If he were 18 and living in Chicago he’d be organizing flash mob heists at the local 7-11. He is a rootless looter.

DavisJohn October 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Unfortunately, this bullying is a pattern of behavior that comes from their leader (Obama). He may do it with a softer voice, but I have never witnessed a President who is so divisive, and so bullying. Look at how he dealt with the Health Care mess, or how he is handling rejection to his “jobs bill”. He doesn’t know how to lead or negotiate. All he knows is how to agitate. That may work for the Wall Street sit in people (who seem to just be looking for any cause to get together and pretend they are important), but the rest of us want a country with a growing economy.

porcorosso October 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm

All he knows is how to dictate. Remember when he made cute with La Raza saying how much easier it would be to make border law by fiat, but said he could not do that, and his audience chanted “Yes, you can! Yes, you can!” ? If he could he would, across the whole spectrum of American social, political, academic, legal and economic life.

indie October 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm

And add to that bully mentality that obama’s inherently sexist and you know the reason why a female reporter was treated the way she was. If CBS had a male reporter on that story, things would have been far different. They would simply have tried to intitate him into the old boy’s club at the White House so he would keep his mouth shut. Why any self-respecting woman would vote democrat is beyond me.

indie October 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I agree that he’s a bully, and remember that the White House is full of sexist pigs.

With this incident, though, he’s got a lot to lose. obama desperately needs the Hispanic vote to win in 2012, among other groups. However, what he doesn’t want them to find out is that 200 Mexicans were killed with Fast and Furious guns.

MaryWilbur October 8, 2011 at 12:06 am

All of these demonstrator/agitators belonging to Soros funded organizations.

jamse October 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm

did you see Sharyl on OReilly last nite.

wncchester October 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

“Why Obama’s Flacks Bullied a CBS Reporter”

Because that’s what petty ‘ankle biting’ lap dogs do. Especially when they know their master will protect them! But Holder went much too far in his politically driven illegal gun running plans (likely BO too) and he’s been much to exposed to put that problem back in the bottle no matter how the little WH pests bite, scratch and bark.

stoicheion October 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Welcome to Chicago on the Potomac.

elephant4life October 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I think she should be careful crossing streets and going through doorways, etc. I wouldn’t put anything past this bunch.

indie October 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Well, I also think this disgusting behavior is indicative of the sexist anti-woman culture in the White House as detailed by Ron Suskind. The fact that one of the bullies was a woman herself is irrelevant. There are women out there who treat other women as nastily and as disrespectfully as the men in an organization that has no respect for women. It’s sadly the only way some of them can figure out to keep their jobs. Instead of standing up for what is right, they join in.

I guarantee you if that CBS reporter had been a man, there would have been no screaming or abuse. It would have been far politer. In fact, they probably would have taken him out to lunch in an attempt to kiss his rear end and convince him that it was no big deal.

The obama adminstration has been sexist to the core since they were campaigning to win the White House. So, all you insipid democrat women who blindly vote democrat every election better keep that in mind. Its an old boys club through and through and the only thing they care about is preserving their precious old boys network in DC.

ann October 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Of couse the vulgar WH press person Eric Shultz was a kid formerly from Al Frankens office. He learned at the foot of the most disgusting and vulgar man himself.

Ellen K October 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm

This is very serious stuff and points to an attempt to bully the press into silence while Holder and company indulge in witness tampering, official intimidation and a variety of other offenses that would get most bosses fired without notice. Why is Obama continuing to support this AG when even the most passive of supporters are saying that Holder knew what was going on. Frankly I think Holder is hoping they don’t ask who else knew, because this has the earmarks of another heavyhanded attempt to stampede the American people into denying second amendment rights by staging a bloodbath. That is a cynical move and frankly if I were a widow because of such action, you would see a real one woman riot on the steps of the Capitol.

MaryWilbur October 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm

She is very much on to something. Fast and Furious goes all the way to Holder and perhaps beyond. To me this is a bigger scandal than Solyndra. The ATF sold thousands of firearms to the armies of drug warlords. What were they thinking? That no one would die? The ,Mexican govt has been fighting the drug cartels and have lost a lot of lives as a result. It is sickening to think that the US Justice Dept contributed to the death toll. All of the people who approved this operation should lose their jobs.

Dedicated_Dad October 8, 2011 at 12:32 am

Lose their JOBS?!

They should lose their *HEADS*!!

This was MURDER, committed In support of TREASON!

F & F was NEVER about “cartels”, and the only thing “botched” was the cover-up!

Make no mistake: not only was there no attempt to track the guns, not only were agents ordered to “stand down” and let the smugglers go free, not only was EVERYONE in Mexico from the to all US agents left out of the loop, but EVERYONE IN MEXICO – ALL THE WAY UP TO the DOJ LIASON – WERE BLOCKED FROM DATABASE ACCESS SO THEY COULDN’T EVEN TRACE THE GUNS WHEN THEY ACCIDENTALLY FOUND THEM!

When the liason got wind of this, he travelled to DOJ HQ in DC to report it to Mgt. HQ – AND WAS REWARDED FOR HIS DILIGENCE BY BEING FORCED INTO EARLY RETIREMENT!

Tell me again how this was supposed to help take down the cartels??!

Obviously it WASN’T!

The sole purpose of this was to “pad the statistics” – to cause the deaths of thousands of Mexicans in order to provide excuse for further infringement of the rights of AMERICANS – rights which our Constitution says “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED(PERIOD)!!

Like I said: murder and treason!

Personally, I’m hoping the will indict & extradite – Mexican prisons seem a much more fitting place for such version than the country-club they’d end up in here…

Dedicated_Dad October 8, 2011 at 12:35 am

“version”should read “VERMIN”!


FrankInFL October 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

No, they were thinking that LOTS of people would die and that sheep-like Americans would finally say “OMG! It’s OUR guns that are killing all those Messicans! Disarm us! In the name of God, disarm us!”

Thankfully, there are people like Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea who lit this one up back in January after disgruntled ATF agents went public on

Lawrence Person October 8, 2011 at 12:33 am

Although it’s not a particularly penetrating piece, it’s good to see that at least CBS hasn’t pulled Attkisson off the story:

Letscheck October 8, 2011 at 5:20 am

I have been saying for years, that this Pres and his Administration will be fodder for the history book for the next 100 years.

O acts as if he is not being taped. The lies are so apparent and I hope to God that people will start now investigating how Obamacare was passed.

If there was ever a time for people who really wanted to be journalists, now is the time. All of the news Journolist have been distorting O for years.

The evidence against him is all over the place and the so called journlists step around it like they fear being tazzed. The Republican elections apparently didn’t wake up the rest of the nation…but we will repeat it again in 2012.

Michael Dickson October 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

The Obama Administration is the PC generation, the first ever in the White House. As most know, PC zealots’ standard reaction to opposition is yelling, name-calling (racist is the preferred word), sneering, etc.

The good news is that Obama and his minions will not be re-elected. He will be lucky to be renominated.

Chris Ikeri October 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

Keep up the good work ATKISSON, this is the best you can get from the seedy Chicago politician.

However, be rest assured that, “blessed are you when men reviled you falsely on the account of truth,” for your reward will be great, even right here we are.

Superstition October 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

Holder lied, people died.

TerminalEyes October 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

Stay unreasonable my friend.

Uncle Buckeye October 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Remember this from Oct 2008: ORLANDO, Fla. – Barack Obama’s campaign has pulled the plug on a Florida news station’s access to the presidential candidate after an anchorwoman angered Joe Biden with uncomfortable questions during a satellite interview.

WFTV-Channel 9 anchorwoman Barbara West quizzed Sen. Biden about Obama’s intention to “spread the wealth,” referring to the Democratic White House contender’s comments to “Joe the Plumber.”

Pure Chicaga’ tactics!

pursang October 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Sounds like she will be working for FOX in a few weeks.

InHI October 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

If Obama somehow gets reelected, he’s going to regret this when the media turns on him in the second turn.

Susan October 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Don’t watch O’Reilly but found his interview with Sharyl Attkisson. It is mistakenly labeled Solyndra on RCP. Other than him over-talking her and being his usual bloviating self, I noticed she was a lot more subdued than she was with Laura Ingraham, and glanced to her side a few times.

Ken Besig October 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

The super cool Obama is now in panic mode, and all he can do is have his courtiers scream and pound the table.

Joachim Brudziński July 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Probably to some extents but any time a force has ever attempted to change things from inside or outside they are co-opted,
corrupted or one way or another destroyed. there
is also the fact that we are and have been in a transition between labor and technology for
decades. “Political discussion contributes to that information mix, with resulting influence on electoral choice” (Mondak 83).