Veteran, award-winning former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson said Sunday that news organizations are being intimidated by the White House into not reporting investigative stories that reflect negatively on President Obama.
From an interview she did with Howard Kurtz that ran Sunday on Fox News:
I think any journalist who has been covering Washington for a few years would agree, and they have agreed in letters written to the White House and a recognition given to the White House over the unprecedented secrecy and lack of FOIA responses and so on, that there are — there is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before.
There have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration, I assume, when they don’t like a particular story. But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration, and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized and designed to have a sort of a chilling effect.
And to some degree, it 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 are 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.
They worked through me and they often went over my head to the bosses. I didn’t always know what they did so. But they would sometimes refer to it later, or I would be coped on an e-mail, or bosses would copy me on e-mails.
And they would consistently tell me, even really the last year or so, if I would write an article online, which would be the fallback position when something couldn’t get on television, but it was still a great story that could be circulated, I would publish it online, they would even call about those or they would call about a headline they didn’t like about the online article.
And these articles were perfectly defensible, legal, accurate, factual, legitimate. But I feel like we didn’t defend them in some cases as strongly as we should have. When they call and bear that kind of pressure, I think it borders on inappropriate if it is part of a campaign to sort of stop, and influence and manipulate the reporting.
That is, the bullying of the press by this White House had been a success.
As I’ve written, it’s not just the liberal bias of reporters that has caused the soft coverage of this White House. It is an orchestrated campaign of bullying reporters for writing perfectly legitimate stories the White House doesn’t like. The idea is to either knock down the current piece or get inside the heads of reporters – and their editors or producers – and make them think twice before they write another such story.
White House officials try to portray this as the usual loud argumentation that goes on in Washington. But this not the case.
The bullying by this administration is done with such regularity and such ugly ferocity by the Obama people that normal human beings – even ones who can take a lot of abuse – can’t help but think, even subliminally, about whether they want to deal with getting cursed at, yelled at, and threatened if they write a negative story about Obama.
I believe this is a well organized strategy, and that – given the similarity of some of the attacks I’ve encountered – the Obama people are even trained how to do it.
Ultimately, this is suppression of free speech and an attempt to undermine a free press. It’s consistent with an administration that likes to rule without having to bother with Congress and that villainizes its opponents as racists, women haters, or whatever else they can think of.
And, as Attkisson is pointing out here, it’s also effective.
Here’s some video from her conversation with Kurtz:
H/T to Newsmax.