I’ve heavily criticized journalists here and elsewhere when they show bias and misbehave ethically, but also, heavily supported them when their constitutional rights go under attack. This is a little different.
CBS, in the middle of a spate of layoffs common to their (and other news organizations’) failed business models, surprisingly included noted investigative reporter Catherine Herridge in the ranks of those unceremoniously shown the door. [She had dealt with unconstitutional governmental persecution before as well.] That’s not all. She was investigating the Hunter Biden laptop story, among other topics uncommon to a mainline network reporting operation. Topics that could bring heat upon a corporation from very high places in both government and advertisers…
Traditionally, when reporters leave a news outlet, they get to take their belongings, files, sources and information. It’s a time-honored journalistic tradition, and it makes sense. With CBS, she still had a lot of her confidentials from Fox (info, sources, etc.). CBS instead seized her belongings including files, computers and most importantly, information on privileged sources — including those not just from her CBS work, but Fox too.
According to legal analyst Jonathan Turley, who also used to work for CBS as a contractor and knows Herridge, “A former CBS manager, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he had ‘never heard of anything like this.’ He attested to the fact that, in past departures, journalists took all of their files and office contents. Indeed, the company would box up everything from cups to post-its for departing reporters. He said the holding of the material was ‘outrageous’ and clearly endangered confidential sources.”
The union representing the reporters stated, “CBS News’ decision to seize Catherine Herridge’s reporter notes and research … sets a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment.” The House Judiciary Committee has launched a probe into the incident also, not that it will amount to anything, since most such probes are theatrical politics.
What is CBS trying to hide? Who are they trying to protect? These are valid questions in the face of unprecedented actions.