Sharyl Attkisson: Media Matters 'Clearly Targeted Me'

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 03:31 PM

By Greg Richter

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Former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson says she has been targeted by some of the very left-wing groups that were once happy to help her pursue stories.

Attkisson told CNN's "Reliable Sources" in an interview aired Sunday that groups such as Media Matters for America were happy to send her information that put her on the trail of stories that would damage Republicans. But once she started reporting on Fast and Furious and green energy stories that were harmful to Democrats, the group turned on her.

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Media Matters, she said, is "a far-left blog group that holds itself out to be sort of an independent media watchdog group."

Media Matters "clearly targeted me," she told host Brian Stelter. "I don't know if someone paid them to do it or if they just took it on their own."

Asked by Stelter to clarify, Attkisson noted that Media Matters operates on donations. She said she wouldn't be surprised if someone donated to the organization specifically for a campaign against her reporting.

Stelter himself acknowledged getting notes from Media Matters, as do other members of the press.

"They're always emailing things, trying to make us feel outraged about something," Stelter said.

Attkisson defended claims of inaccurate reporting against her by Media Matters and The Washington Post, calling the case of Media Matters "a campaign by those who really want to controversialize the reporting I do so you wouldn't listen to it. In the case of the Post, she said the newspaper took the word of Democratic operatives who fed them incorrect information.

A Google search would find "dozens and dozens of stories" she has done that the "liberal press" liked, she said. "And I have been criticized by the conservative side in the past."

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Attkisson was let out of her contract
with CBS in March because she had become unhappy that her pieces were getting less airtime. She has said previously that a change in management at the network after anchor Katie Couric left made stories she had done since arriving in 1993 more difficult.

She told CNN's Stelter that some news producers weren't interested in stories that made the government in general look bad. Some, but not all, managers now are "so ideologically entrenched" that they don't like it if the administration of President Barack Obama looked bad or the government in general looks bad.

"I didn’t sense any resistance in doing stories that were perceived to be negative to the Bush administration, by anybody ever," she said. "I have done stories that I perceived were not received well because people thought they would reflect poorly upon this administration."

Some of her stories about government waste were not well received even if they didn't specify a particular culprit and involved both parties, she said.

Stelter asked if the problem went to the top, noting that CBS News President David Rhodes is the brother of Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes.

Attkisson said Rhodes told her he was interested in her type of reporting and that she and he had a "meeting of the minds" over her work. She has not been as generous to Patricia Shevlin, executive producer of "The CBS Evening News," though she said Shevlin alone was not be singled out.

"I think there's no secret that there were a number of people at CBS News that had some serious issues, but it wasn’t isolated to that alone," she said.

Attkisson suggested people gather as much information as they can for themselves about the news stories they follow.

"There are very sophisticated efforts to manipulate the images and the information that you see every day in ways that you won't recognize," she said. "And I think we an all be a little more savvy about that."

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