Interview: CBS Reporter Sharyl AttkissonPosted: November 4, 2014
The former CBS reporter believes her work computers were hacked by government operatives—and fiercely denies accusations of political bias.
“I’m not a conservative. I’m not a liberal. I really am one of those people who are mixed on many issues and can see many legitimate sides. If that makes them feel better to call me a conservative, if that explains in their minds why I’m covering a particular story, that’s okay. It really is.”
“I don’t care what people think. I’m trying to do what I think is right. Sometimes I rub people the wrong way, although I’m very polite.”
“I said to Jim I may never work again and he had to be okay with that,” she tells The Daily Beast, referring to her spouse of 30 years, retired attorney and law enforcement officer James Attkisson. “It took him some time before he said ‘okay.’ I knew I had to work somewhere else, where I could report on some of the stuff I was reporting on. Clearly, it would be a different ballgame.”
“When the White House calls them to complain, instead of saying, ‘The story is accurate, so don’t call and scream at me,’ they get distraught. They don’t want the White House to be upset with them. They would much rather have the White House call and say, ‘I like the story you did.’ I don’t know why they care, but they do.”
Attkisson, 53, the mother of a 19-year-old daughter (“College is paid-for,” she says with relief), had toiled for two decades in the network news division’s Washington bureau, exposing government and corporate malfeasance, scorching Republicans and Democrats alike, and racking up Emmys and other prestigious journalism awards.
[Order Sharyl Attkisson’s book Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington from Amazon]
Indeed, she says her career at CBS was going pretty well until Barack Obama and his team of belligerent spinmeisters arrived in the White House—and then things went gradually, inexorably, south, as her superiors folded under pressure and it became increasingly difficult to get her stories on the air.
“When the White House calls them to complain, instead of saying, ‘The story is accurate, so don’t call and scream at me,’ they get distraught,” Attkisson claims. “They don’t want the White House to be upset with them. They would much rather have the White House call and say, ‘I like the story you did.’ I don’t know why they care, but they do.”
At the same time, Attkisson became a lightning rod for liberal bloggers and Obama staffers who suspected her of pushing a pro-Republican agenda—a worry that came to be shared by some of her CBS News colleagues.
Attkisson chronicles her downward slide, along with the sinister hacking of her personal and workplace computers that she believes was accomplished by politically motivated government operatives, in Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.
Much like Attkisson’s aggressive reporting on such Obama administration missteps as Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Solyndra, and the ill-fated launch of Healthcare.gov, her book is bound to raise hackles and slap a target on her back.