Sharyl Attkisson Calls Obama Administration ‘Worst Atmosphere’ for Journalists
by Kelsey Harkness, Heritage Foundation Daily Signal, June 23, 2014
On last night’s C-SPAN Q&A interview series, Sharyl Attkisson said the Obama administration has created “the worst atmosphere” journalists have ever faced, and called the Freedom of Information Act “a joke.”
Attkisson is an award-winning investigative reporter who earlier this year made headlines for resigning from CBS News after a 20-year career at the TV network. Earlier this month, she became a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal.
Following her departure from CBS News, Attkisson cited her inability to get her stories on the air. Now, she is revealing more details about her departure and explaining what changed from five years ago when she told C-SPAN her job at CBS News was “a dream come true.”
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While she admits to a declining appetite for her watchdog brand of investigative reporting, Attkisson more alarmingly argued that recently the government has co-opted the Freedom of Information Act, a law that grants citizens the right to access information from the federal government.
“[FOIA] is 96 percent broken,” she told C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb. “I’m still waiting since 2012 for responses for Benghazi.”
She attributes part of the delay to backlogs, but also believes that under President Obama, government bureaucrats intentionally delay damaging information from being released as a stall tactic. Waiting, argued Attkisson, softens the blow so that when information finally comes out, it’s old news.
When asked why the public still cares about the four Americans who were killed in the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks, Attkisson said the lack of information being released “leads you as a journalist to assume they don’t want you to know something.”
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As an investigative reporter, she added, “I think it’s important to learn not to let go of something just because time passes.” In the cases of Benghazi and HealthCare.gov, Attkisson felt stonewalled by both the government and the TV network. “CBS was not willing to invest the time or money in filing suits [against the government].”
Attkisson is currently working on her upcoming book, “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
When asked in the interview whether she’d encourage her 19-year-old daughter to pursue a career in journalism, Attkisson responded, “I’m not sure I’d wish it on my kid.” She added, “It’s hard to have a happy job in journalism right now.”