Patterico's Pontifications


Sharyl Attkisson Book: White House Pressured C-SPAN, Plus, Bonus Video of Hacker Controlling Her Computer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

Erik Wemple at the Washington Post:

Among the juicier tidbits in the new book “Stonewalled” by former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson relates to a tiff between C-SPAN and the White House. As Attkisson tells the story, C-SPAN eminence Brian Lamb interviewed President Obama on Aug. 12, 2010, for a documentary on the White House. In the session, Lamb asks Obama about the Oval Office: “What have you changed in this room?”

The president responds, “We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.”

Two weeks later, reports Attkisson in the book, a White House official contacts C-SPAN to say, “the Washington Post will be breaking the story of the President’s reported multi-million dollar renovation of the Oval Office,” reads “Stonewalled.” According to the author, the White House official, then-TV liaison Dag Vega, wanted to “make sure” that C-SPAN didn’t run its Obama interview snippet after the story in The Post surfaced. “The one taped just days before in which President Obama had implied, that in the spirit of austerity, there would be no Oval Office redecoration,” writes Attkisson. Actually, the president merely said that they’d made a decision to “hold off last year” on the changes — not that the changes wouldn’t be coming soon.

In any case, the White House, via Vega, wanted C-SPAN to drop the footage later, to coincide with the release of its full documentary about the White House. Not when it was most relevant, and when it would raise questions about why the president had spoken of austerity.

It’s almost as if they were liars! Speaking of Attkisson, she released this video of her computer doing odd things:

Here’s a genius analysis: it’s a stuck key!

Really? A stuck key? With all that selecting and mouse movement and clicking and purposeful motion towards a button on the screen?

It doesn’t seem like secret hacking so much as a psychological game. Someone was telling her, in no uncertain terms: “We have control of your computer.” And they did a bunch of really obvious stuff — highlighting text, closing a document, etc. — to make sure the message was seen.

That, or a stuck key.


Sharyl Attkisson: I Was Told Government Planted Spyware and Classified Documents on My Computer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Deeply terrifying:

A former CBS News reporter who quit the network over claims it kills stories that put President Obama in a bad light says she was spied on by a “government-related entity” that planted classified documents on her computer.

In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.

“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

This is an extraordinarily serious charge, and naturally one would like to see more evidence of it than the word of an anonymous source. But then, that’s how these things work, isn’t it? They do things so outrageous that if you find about it and report it, you sound like a nut. And they terrify anyone who comes forward, and leave a person with no place they can go.

I guess she could take her computer to the FBI — oh, right. Well then, she could go to the Department of Justice — right, same problem.

Who do you go to when you can’t trust the people who are supposed to be protecting you? Where do you go when those people are the ones you need protection from?


The NY Post on Sharyl Attkisson’s New Book

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:07 am

[guest post by JVW]

The New York Post today provides some interesting tidbits from the forthcoming book by Sharyl Attkisson, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington which is set to be published on November 4. Faithful readers of Patterico’s Pontifications will recognize Ms. Attkisson as the brave reporter who has done more than anyone in Big Media to hold the Obama Administration accountable, only to see her efforts thwarted by her bosses at CBS News.

There are plenty items of interest in the Post’s reporting. One of the things that comes through loud and clear is the degree to which the Obama Administration expects meek cooperation from Big Media:

Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

Not only do Obama operatives throw-up roadblocks in the path of whom they perceive as unfriendly reporters, they also make use of their contacts within CBS management to run interference for them, including blood ties:

When the White House didn’t like her reporting, it would make clear where the real power lay. A flack would send a blistering e-mail to her boss, David Rhodes, CBS News’ president — and Rhodes’s brother Ben, a top national security advisor to President Obama.

And, of course the infamous Washington social circuit:

[Attkisson] was turning up leads tying the Fast and Furious scandal (which involved so many guns that ATF officials initially worried that a firearm used in the Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords might have been one of them) to an ever-expanding network of cases when she got an e-mail from Katie Couric asking if it was OK for Couric to interview Eric Holder, whom Couric knew socially, about the scandal. Sure, replied Attkisson.

No interview with Holder aired but “after that weekend e-mail exchange, nothing is the same at work,” Attkisson writes. “The Evening News” began killing her stories on Fast and Furious, with one producer telling Attkisson, “You’ve reported everything. There’s really nothing left to say.”

The book also calls-out by name the CBS News executives who are in the tank for bureaucratic progressivism in general and the Obama Administration in particular, and allow their political preferences to override any interest in reporting the truth:

Reporting on the many green-energy firms such as Solyndra that went belly-up after burning through hundreds of millions in Washington handouts, Attkisson ran into increasing difficulty getting her stories on the air. A colleague told her about the following exchange: “[The stories] are pretty significant,” said a news exec. “Maybe we should be airing some of them on the ‘Evening News?’ ” Replied the program’s chief Pat Shevlin, “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”

Pre-order the book from Amazon. And never trust the hacks at CBS News to report honestly on politics.



Sharyl Attkisson: Other Reporters Are Being Shut Down Just Like I Was

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:17 pm

Sharyl Attkisson announced tonight that she was going to answer a few questions on Twitter. She responded to each one in the same format: a one-word summary of the question, followed by the Twitter handle of the person to whom she was responding, followed by a pithy answer.

I managed to get in one question before she left, and I thought I would share the question and answer with y’all. First my question:

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 8.07.52 PM

and her response:

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 8.08.05 PM

For background, see this post.

There are more stories like hers. Count on it.


Sharyl Attkisson Speaks of “Chilling Effect” from Obama Administration Leaning on CBS News Executives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

Worth watching in its entirety:

Ed Morrissey:

Attkisson told Kurtz that the White House would pressure her to change or drop her reporting, and when that didn’t work, they worked her bosses instead. Kurtz asked how this differed from the “working the refs” actions that go on all the time in Washington, and Attkisson says that it went too far. “It’s just a lot of obfuscation, accusations, saying things are ‘phony scandals,’ ‘bogus,’ ‘not real,’ giving misinformation and false information. I mean, that’s provably true in some cases.”

She also speaks of working to get sources to go on the record, only to let the source down when the risk they took going public leads to no story.

And the oppression still goes on.


Sharyl Attkisson Leaves CBS In Part Due to Frustration with Liberal Bias

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:07 pm

I’ll take the quote from Hot Air to avoid quoting Politico:

Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her packages on television.

Allahpundit gets the line of the day: “First Liz Wahl quits RT over Crimea, now this. It’s been a bad week for state TV.”

Attkisson’s Twitter feed merely says: “I have resigned from CBS.”

Unconfirmed rumors I just made up say that Attkisson will now be required to certify on her tax forms, under penalty of perjury, that she will not be investigating the Obama administration in any future jobs, or a special 10% surcharge will apply. (The surcharge has not been passed by Congress but will be imposed pursuant to President Obama’s enforcement powers. Do you wish to raise a public objection, citizen?)

Good luck to Attkisson, an excellent reporter, in whatever future endeavors Barack Obama allows her to pursue.


Confirmed: Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Was Compromised

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:58 am

Gee. I wonder who might have done that!


Sharyl Attkisson: There Has Been an Intrusion on My Computer System

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:53 pm

I’m sure there’s an innocent explanation. I mean, it’s not like the White House is going to target reporters for investigation just because they report stories that embarrass them!


President Obama And The Press

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:09 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s always been a bit reminiscent of high school, this tumultuous relationship the president has with the press. Mad crushes, intense bonding, the on-again-off-again upheavals. They don’t ever really break up because everyone knows they really can’t quit each other. From day one, journalists and reporters have adored him, worshiped at his podium, covered for him, and even deified him. For his part, the president kept them in his circle with flattery, made a select few feel big and important, depended upon their loyalty, kept them close, pushed them away. With that, it’s interesting to read former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton’s inside look at the president and his relationship with the press. It’s especially interesting to see his response when the press steps over the line and functions independently, perhaps with an eye to do their jobs with an objective non-biased professionalism:

Compton explained that the president went on a “profanity-laced tirade, where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he didn’t think were scandals.” And there was another time, she recalls, when he scolded the media “for not understanding the limits he has with foreign policy.”


“I don’t find him apologetic,” she continued. “But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye — even though it was off-the-record — and just give us hell.”

Compton had little sympathy for the president’s concerns. “We cover what we are allowed to cover,” she said. “And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible, and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson responded to Ann Compton, and her experience sounded familiar:

Maybe this is just me or a personal opinion that a profanity-laced conversation with professionals in the press by the president of the U.S. is probably inappropriate,” said Attkisson.

“That’s not surprising to me,” the former CBS investigative reporter told Malzberg. “There have been profanity-laced discussions on their part with members of the Obama administration that they’ve talked to me about similar things, thinking that a cover story…was not warranted or fair.”

“They haven’t just done this with me, but with reporters at The Associated Press and other colleagues,” said Attkisson. “This is a tactic and a strategy.”

“I don’t know if it’s heartfelt or sometimes it’s just to create the kind of pushback that leads to a self-censorship, because you’re so beaten down…by what they say, by the social media campaigns and the blog campaigns that they launch,” Attkisson added.



You Idiots, ‘You’ve Never Heard Of A Computer Crashing Before?’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The House committee investigating the IRS scandal subpoenaed Commissioner John Koskinen to testify on June 23 about the agency’s claims it cannot locate Lois Lerner’s missing emails which were supposedly lost when her computer crashed.

Clearly, Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has run out of patience:

“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting,” Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter accompanying the subpoena. “For too long, the IRS has promised to produce requested – and, later, subpoenaed – documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.”

In the meantime, Sharyl Attkisson reminds us of Commissioner Koskinen’s testimony about Lerner’s emails given last March:

Koskinen said, at the time, it would be 2015 before the Committee got the documents it subpoenaed. That means he predicted it would take the tax agency a year and a half from the time the material was first requested to provide it.

Koskinen said the IRS uses Microsoft Outlook but that a simple search through a user’s “sent” and “in” boxes would not turn up the emails because “they’re stored somewhere.”

Koskinen indicated that seven months after the request, the agency had not yet begun serious work to turn over Lois Lerner’s emails. But he said, “We can find, and we are in fact searching, we can find Lois Lerner’s emails.” He made no mention of a computer or system “crash.

Commenting from Air Force One about the missing emails, White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismissively sneered:

You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?

When informed that emails are stored on servers and not hard drives, Earnest predictably went on the attack:

I think it’s entirely reasonable because it’s the truth and it’s a fact. And speculation otherwise I think is indicative of conspiracies that are propagated in a way that left people with a disinformation about exactly what occurred.

So a good-faith effort has been made by the IRS to cooperate with congressional oversight. The far-fetched skepticism expressed by some Republican members of Congress is not at all surprising and not particularly believable.

It will be interesting to see what June 23rd brings.


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