Many were surprised when investigative reporter Catherine Herridge left Fox News for CBS News. She covered the Justice Department and always provided information regarding her beat pretty straight. She quoted documents and officials without pushing any narrative or spin. In a quote on CBS News’ own site Herridge had the following to say about her move:
“CBS News has always placed a premium on enterprise journalism and powerful investigations,” Herridge said in a statement. “I feel privileged to join a team where facts and storytelling will always matter.”
That might have been wishful thinking. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Journalism School, you would think she would be a member of the in-crowd. She began her career with ABC News in London. Then she made the unforgivable mistake. She joined Fox News in 1996 when it launched. There she has covered the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and reported from various locations in the Middle East.
Since moving to CBS, Herridge seems to have remained quite consistent. She meticulously reviews documents and shares her findings on social media and in her investigative reports. And now The Daily Beast tells us people are very, very mad at her for doing this.
Since I paid $1 to peek behind their paywall for 30 days, and I know most people do not, I’ll give you a few of the more laughable paragraphs. Their biggest beef seems to be she is well-sourced inside the Justice Department and the intelligence community and that these sources reach out to her to break news. I thought that was the hallmark of a great reporter. I guess the Daily Beast only sees it that way if you break the news they want to hear.
They are certainly very, very mad that she got the exclusive interview with Attorney General William Barr following the announcement the Justice Department would not be prosecuting General Michael Flynn.
This is strange since Barr has sat for interviews rotating around the major networks since being in office. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox with multiple interviewers. Perhaps it was just CBS’s turn and Herridge covers his department. Last time he sat with CBS it was with Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford.
Democrats, in particular, are super irritated, according to the article. This quote from a Democrat staffer is telling:
“The problem we had with the Russia stuff and FISA stuff from day one was that people are getting two sets of news depending on what you watch,” one Democratic hill staffer said. “Some Dems were willing to live with that if it was limited to Fox News. But at CBS you are giving it the imprimatur of neutrality and that of a serious news organization.”
How dare she tell their potential voters what has actually been uncovered. The nerve! Her colleagues are also super offended:
Herridge has also occasionally shaken up the normal course of business at CBS News, which has a reputation for by-the-book, no-nonsense reporting without a hint of bias. Some staff have privately grumbled that she gives the network the appearance of partisan political bias.
“Personally I and a few of my other colleagues are really frustrated because we thought she wanted to come to CBS to do real news, not just GOP talking points, but she’s just doing more of the same stuff,” one insider said. Several CBS staffers noted how the Fox News editorial standards are different than those at the more buttoned-up traditional broadcast news outlet, perhaps an inherent challenge in Herridge’s transition to her new outlet.
So, let me get this straight. Herridge is doing exactly what she always did when CBS hired her. Which was accompanied by the following praise:
“Catherine Herridge is a skilled investigative correspondent who has consistently brought depth and originality to her reporting,” said Christopher Isham, vice president and Washington bureau chief for CBS News. “We are very excited that she will be joining the outstanding team at the Washington Bureau.”
In the run-up to this article, Herridge:
- Reported on testimony released by the House Intelligence Committee
- Documents released by the Justice Department related to the Brady request from General Flynn’s attorney
- Had the exclusive with Barr
- Reported the release of the unmasking requests of General Flynn
All of these are newsworthy. How does this reporting violate the editorial standards of CBS News? Granted, most of these stories were studiously ignored by the corporate media. That may be an editorial decision. But reporting it factually and from the original sources does not violate any journalistic standard. And I have to assume an editor at CBS green-lighted her reporting. Even the article had to admit:
Herridge has been careful to never cross the line into overt advocacy. Her recent scoops largely consist of statements, documents, or reports from GOP politicians in the House and Senate, as well as letters or memos from inside various intelligence agencies. Her final few years at Fox News were often remarked upon for how frequently she’d hold up printed papers as props while on-air, underscoring for viewers the documentary evidence behind her reporting. Such appearances made her appealing to the brass at CBS News, which she joined late last year as her Fox contract neared its end and CBS was on the hunt for a new justice correspondent.
I would assert Herridge offends some of her colleagues’ partisan sensibilities. That could be why they are leaking internal email lists:
On internal email lists, Herridge and another CBS reporter have debated (politely) over the meaning of new revelations about the FISA story. And some of Herridge’s stories have been relegated from television to the CBS’s online-only network CBSN. According to one person with knowledge, CBS News bumped part of her interview with former national security council official Kash Patel to its digital streaming platform amid some concerns that an initial segment didn’t have enough opposing voices.
According to multiple network insiders, many of the FISA scoops she’s shared internally haven’t made it to air because they’re too in the weeds for the evening news, which relies heavily on brief and concise reportage on the day’s biggest stories.
Too in the weeds, people. You are just too dumb to follow the complexities. CBS wants to frame it so you can understand. Funny we all were able to follow when she was on Fox. Maybe Fox viewers are just smarter.
A pretty good indication that your ire is overblown could be who is defending your target. CNN anchor Jake Tapper characterized comments from a Biden campaign staffer toward Herridge as obnoxious and indecent. Even more surprising, attorney for the whistleblower Mark Zaid defended her from attacks following her disclosure of the unmasking requests.
This article is a blatant attempt to tell Herridge to just shut up. I do not think it is going to work. As one of the few remaining investigative reporters in the corporate media, she has always appeared to take her job and her responsibility for informing the public seriously. I would tender a significant bet that if she uncovered information the Trump administration would prefer not to be disclosed, she would still report it accurately with direct sources.
For now, the political hacks in the corporate media will continue to exert pressure on Herridge. It is all about protecting the precious Barack Obama. He was “scandal-free,” don’t you know. Except for the tan suit, of course.