Klavan On The Culture

CBS: The Corrupt Broadcasting System

There are very few things that are actually as dishonest, wicked and corrupt as conservatives think they are. But CBS News is one of them.

I’ve just finished reading Sharyl Atkisson’s book Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington. It’s an excellent book by a terrific and non-partisan investigative reporter who was as hard on the Bush administration as she tried to be on Obama. Every thinking person, left and right, should read what she has to say about the news business in general and CBS News in particular.

Much of the reporting about the book has been centered on the government’s  intrusion into Attkisson’s life and work: their apparent attempts to stop her investigations by stealing and erasing her computer files, bugging her through her phones, harassing network executives and starting whisper campaigns against her character. News venues have either reported these appalling abuses of power or have tried to discredit Attkisson with personal slanders — including the charge that she might be, gasp, conservative (which, by the way, my sources say she’s not). I don’t know Attkisson personally but I’m familar with her work. I’d believe her long before I’d believe the people trying to smear her.

But to me, who already knows that government is always and everywhere the single greatest threat to a nation’s freedom, the most shocking sections of the book are not those exposing the thugs of the Obama administration, they’re the sections where Attkisson discusses the cowardice, stupidity and ideological corruption of CBS News. And in this regard, I have no doubt that CBS stands in for all three network news operations.

Attkisson details how the network repeatedly obstructed and killed her reports about Fast and Furious, Benghazi, misuse of Green Energy funds and any other story that might reflect badly on the Obama administration in particular or big government in general. Bias to the point of dishonesty and corruption, plus incestuous media-Washington relations — including the fact that Obama advisor Ben Rhodes is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes — led the network to distort, lie, cover up and silence stories that might be damaging to the Washington leftists who represented their points of view.

Pants on Fire!

Some of the CBS corruption involved (and no doubt continues to involve) simple, though inexcusable, bias:

We do stories on food stamps but only to the extent that we prove the case that they’re needed, without also examining the well-established fraud and abuse. We look at unemployment but only to the extent that we present sympathetic characters showing that benefits should be extended rather than examining, also, the escalating cost and instances of fraud. We cover minimum wage but only to the extent that we help make the case for raising it…

But then there were repeated instances of Obama corruption stories being killed, ruined or edited to protect the administration — especially on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.  “A number of well-regarded veteran correspondents” became “so disgusted with the state of the Evening News under Pelley and his executive producer [Pat] Shevlin” that they sought contracts “under which they wouldn’t have to appear on the broadcast.”

You know there’s a problem when reporters are trying to stay off your flagship news program rather than get on it.

By the 2012 presidential campaign, CBS had sunk so low, they actually mis-represented a 60 Minutes Obama interview to make it seem that Obama had called the Benghazi disaster terrorism long before he had (trying to prop up Candy Crowley’s infamous rescue of the dishonest president during the second Obama-Romney debate). They then tried to cover up the real contents of the interview — the part that exposed Obama’s debate lie — until they were shamed into releasing it.

Given the fact that ABC and NBC’s main news programs have blacked out the recent explosive revelations of Jon Gruber about Obamacare — while CBS has given it minimal coverage — it seems wrong to single CBS out for the shame all three network news operations clearly deserve. Attkisson was one of CBS’s best reporters and Stonewalled is her story so it’s CBS News that got caught.

But there’s plenty of disgrace to go around.