Sharyl Attkisson, who recently gave up her job at CBS citing censorship of her investigative reporting on the Obama administration has reported some interesting facts about journalism today in an interview with Chris Stigall. After spilling shocking details about the level of coordination between the press and the White House (including pre-arranged questions with the press secretary) she went on to dish about how investigative reporting is dying out.
She also said it is more and more difficult for investigative reporters to get their stories published or on the air because of the trouble it may cause.
“Nobody was interested in the stories. It didn’t seem to matter what the topic was.
I’ve experienced this on a local level first hand. When I uncovered sex crimes including public masturbation and even the viewing of child pornography at Orland Park Public Library, I was completely unable to get any news source to report my investigative findings. The story made all the papers, but only parts of it (and none of the salacious parts that would make people angry like the masturbation near children or the viewing of child porn.) Instead, “journalists” I dealt with avoided the juicy details all together in favor of a much more watered-down version of the truth. Instead of reporting the crimes that occurred in the Library and the Library’s neglect to involve authorities, they turned the story into “Mom Sees Boobs, Library Protects First Amendment”. This, of course is far from the truth.
I had an interesting conversation with Evelyn Holmes from ABC-TV Chicago when she came to interview me about the Library issue. I handed her the internal documents and police reports that showed the accounts of public masturbation and child porn and said, “No one will report these documents. Please be the first. This is the story. It’s not about me or what I saw. It’s about what I found after that during my investigation.” I will never forget that she looked right at me and said, “My job is to get your story and then get the Library’s story and report both. I don’t take sides. Our viewers decide on their own.” Seeking the truth is taking a side?
This shocked me. I thought news reporters wanted the truth! I thought that’s why they went to journalism school! Didn’t they all idolize Woodward and Bernstein, those intrepid reporters who took down a sitting president? Didn’t they all want to be the one to uncover the next big scandal and government corruption? Later that evening, Evelyn’s report ran on the nightly news with only a cursory mention of the reports I cited and then ABC allowed the Library’s spokesman, Bridget Bittman, to call me a liar, saying “There have not been sex crimes here at this library,” denying the very reports I gave to Holmes. No one at ABC bothered to investigate those reports further. (Last time I checked public masturbation is still a sex crime and it’s an actual assault if the person is looking at you while doing it, making you feel threatened.) A police report showed that one such sexual assault occurred there against a teenager while she was studying and a man was masturbating right in front of her while leering at her, prompting her to call the police (and snap a photo with her phone for evidence). That’s a sex crime. ABC wasn’t interested in that part of the story.
That would have been a great follow up to Bittman’s whopper (if any real journalists had shown up), “Actually, sex crimes were reported at this library including A, B and C.” Now that is investigative reporting. Whatever it was that Evelyn Holmes put together, (along with FOX, WGN, Telemundo, CBS and NBC) it wasn’t news.
On an even smaller local level, the Orland Park Prairie (a local paper owned by none other than Jack Ryan, the man who handed the presidency to Barack Obama) was recently caught offering to only give the Library “positive” coverage through FOIA requests. I requested all emails between Bittman and a local Managing Editor of the Prairie, Bill Jones (self-styled “King of Journalism” according to his LinkedIn profile.) If you thought a man who fancies himself the “King of Journalism” would be well-versed in the ethical standards required of those in his profession, you would be wrong.
In this email, Bill Jones promises Bittman to do “cute stories” and paint the Library in a “positive light” to help rid the Library of all that “weird press” over the
child porn computer issues. This is the same man who has refused to print one single honest thing about this situation and wrote an entire editorial to discredit me. Here are some of the nicer things he said about me:
…the vocal minority…I don’t think she deserves the attention…So let’s call her, factually, what she is — a nonresident who, in my opinion, is less interested in protecting adults from having to avert their eyes from something they don’t like and more interested in promoting her “media” blog…That nonresident was at the meeting Feb. 12 to film and make angry faces from the back of [the] room.
Consider for a moment what it means when journalists start colluding with government entities against the public who support those entities with tax dollars. Consider where this is headed. Clearly, as Sharyl Attkisson has discovered, it’s nowhere good.