Former CBS reporter alleges network killed stories about advertisers
Erik Wemple of The Washington Post writes that former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s new book claims that the network suppressed stories about corporate partners.
Wemple writes, “Perhaps the most spectacular allegation against Attkisson’s former employer relates to influence by corporate interests on the news product. The way Attkisson tells it, a script that she’d written had secured approval from key executives across CBS News. The story concerns ‘a documented danger involving an automaker’s cars.’ As the story is making its way toward airing, Attkisson gets pulled into a session with the network’s Washington bureau chief, who asks, ‘Why are we doing this story?’
“Attkisson provides a quite compelling reason: ‘A lot of cars are catching fire and being recalled…’
“The bureau chief allegedly responds, ‘But [the car company] says there’s not a problem. So why are we doing this story ???!?!‘
“Despite the hassles, Attkisson and her colleagues plow ahead with such stories. Until she catches wind that the bureau chief has requested to see her notes on a story about ‘an American Red Cross disaster response.’ After Attkisson complains that it’s inappropriate to ask to see the notes, the bureau chief says, ‘I know. I don’t know what else to do.’ Discouragement of Attkisson’s reporting, confesses the bureau chief, comes from powerful forces within CBS News. ‘We must do nothing to upset our corporate partners,’ says the bureau chief, per ‘Stonewalled.'”
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