Sharyl Attkisson, of CBS News, has been one of the few reporters who is “a persistent voice of media skepticism on Benghazi,” according to the Washington Post. It’s nice to know there are still some in the media who are persistent voices of media skepticism when it comes to our government. After all, that really is part of what the First Amendment is about; holding government accountable through freedom of speech and freedom of the press. However, she’s now claiming that she has received “a tremendous amount of pushback” from the Obama White House.
“I’m a political agnostic,” she says. “I don’t think about who’s good and who’s bad. I just go where the story leads. . . . People can say what they want about me, I don’t care. I just want to get the information out there.”
Not only does Attkisson, say that, but she lives it. She claims that she is not partisan and has already demonstrated that she will go up against the administration in her coverage of the Justice Department’s gun running operation, Fast and Furious, won her an Emmy for investigative reporting.
Attkisson believes she is being stonewalled by the White House in her investigation of Benghazi, specifically the Obama administration’s non-response to a petition for documents requested back in November under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Washington Post recounts her sentiments:
“I find [that] improper,” she said. “You could say suspicious.” Suspicious? “We don’t know what we don’t know,” she says. “There could be political reasons or valid national security reasons [for not replying]. I just don’t know. I know they haven’t made a good argument” for why public disclosure of the material would harm national security.
White House officials did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment. But they have said previously that they have made extensive disclosures, including making public an internal State Department review of the episode.
Attkisson’s general approach to her work may be spelled out in the self-description on her Twitter account: “Investigative Journalist. Dreaming of a day when public officials answer questions as if they know they work for the public.”
She says she has received “a tremendous amount of pushback” from the White House as a result of her reporting on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Among other things, she says, White House officials have called and written her bosses at CBS to complain about her work. She says she doesn’t find that unusual or even disturbing.
Obviously a tremendous amount of pushback from the White House is indicative of the fact that they are unhappy with Attkisson not being the media sheep they are used to dealing with. That’s a good thing. However, since she is getting this pushback from the White House, who exactly is talking to her bosses over at CBS and putting the pressure on? Breitbart reports,
There are many candidates, but sources tell Breitbart News that one obvious candidate is Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for communication for Barack Obama. Rhodes has worked for Obama since 2007, and works under National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. Rhodes’ brother, David Rhodes, is the president of CBS News. He “directs network newsgathering for all CBS News platforms,” according to the CBS News website.
Ben Rhodes has been named as a central player in the revision of the Benghazi talking points that ended with Ambassador Susan Rice going on network television and lying about the nature of the Benghazi attacks by labeling them results of a spontaneous protest about a YouTube video. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard writes:
CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.
Ah yes, Ben Rhodes! That name seems to be coming up quite a bit when we speak about the person who may have come up with the idea for the entire “YouTube video was the cause of the attacks in Benghazi” cover-up line.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.