Atkisson: Obama White House pressured CBS to change or drop stories

Atkisson: Obama White House pressured CBS to change or drop stories

Attkisson told Kurtz that the White House would pressure her to change or drop her reporting, and when that didn’t work, they worked her bosses instead. Kurtz asked how this differed from the “working the refs” actions that go on all the time in Washington, and Attkisson says that it went too far. “It’s just a lot of obfuscation, accusations, saying things are ‘phony scandals,’ ‘bogus,’ ‘not real,’ giving misinformation and false information. I mean, that’s provably true in some cases.”

Mediaite grabs another portion of the interview to capture Attkisson’s complaint about broadcast journalism in the age of Obama:

Now there’ve 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, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree 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’re 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?

If it’s just the “headache of it,” one would have expected that this would have also been true during the Bush administration. As Attkisson’s experience and our own shows, that’s just not the case. Perhaps the Obama administration exerts more pressure and plays Chicago sur le Potomac more than the Bush administration did — or perhaps the mandarins of journalism these days just see the Obama administration a lot more sympathetically.

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