The Reailty of the Autism Epidemic: What Happens When Autistic Children Age Out of School?
Ask Senators to HOLD S2449 Autism CARES Bill for Improvement

Q&A with Sharyl Attkisson (C-Span)

SharylMedia Editor Anne Dachel's Note: Sharyl Attkisson talked about her career, the state of the media, and her future plans with Brian Lamb of C-Span. (Watch here.) Ms. Attkisson left CBS News in March 2014..... Thank you to Bob Moffit for sharing the link with me

Brian Lamb asked her why she left:

"Primarily because there just wasn't a market for what I think I do best. . . good investigative reporting, preferably on topics that are under-reported or underserved

 otherwise, and often on topics that other people don't want to touch because they get so much pushback or blowback.  I like covering those kinds of topics.   It doesn't mean they're easy to cover, but I think that's important." 

Lamb showed a clip of Attkisson from an interview from five years earlier.  At that time, she loved her job at CBS. "This is the best!"  She added, "The joke is, you're only as good as your last story."

Five years ago, she felt, "Overall, this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do." She said her bosses "heavily support" her work.

Lamb asked her, "What happened?"

Attkisson: "I think overall, not just at CBS, according to my colleagues. . . there's been a declining appetite for investigative reporting. It's gotten harder and harder. . . Any kind of reporting that goes after the powers that be.  There are such organized, well-financed efforts that go after the reporters and the reports, before, during and after they're being crafted.  It's a lot of trouble and it ruffles a lot of feathers, and it upsets a lot of people." 

Why are they concerned about "the powers that be"?

Attkisson: "It's a complex question.  I think that there's an element of, it's just easier to take the path of least resistance. . . .  I think there are financial connections between people that we may do stories on and the network entities we work for.  I think there are politic connections sometimes.  I think it's a very complex web of factors that have come together in sort of a perfect storm that's led to this declining appetite for investigative reporting. 

"We have lost--really all the investigative reporters from CBS News are gone. They still have an investigative unit of producers. . . but the on-air people that were doing investigative reporting over the last couple of years--they're all gone."

Lamb then pointed out that there's a declining audience for network news shows.  Attkisson said people are going elsewhere for their news.  Network news stories are necessarily original anymore.

Attkisson: "Viewers have many places they can go to find news that they can't get elsewhere."  She said alternative sources didn't always involve "a fair perspective," but instead were opinion blogs.

Next she was asked about her upcoming book and the coverage she got when she decided to leave CBS.

A clip of a recent interview with Lisa Meyers was shown.  She had just retired from NBC. 

Lisa Meyers: "I think journalism at its best, is a matter of holding powerful people and institutions accountable and exposing injustice. I fear today that we're not doing that enough.  ...We're too driven by social media. ..

Attkisson was totally in agreement with Meyers.  She cited the fact that there were other prominent journalists felt the same way.  She also said that a year earlier she  was prepared to leave CBS, but her boss talked her out it. 

Her most important point was that she wanted to authentically cover the news but that those in charge of the news refused to carry her stories.  Attkisson lamented the fact that she had stories involving whistle blowers that never got aired.  

Lamb asked if these things were "a corporate decision, higher above the news people." She wasn't sure, but others thought there might be some of that going on.

Attkisson: "If there are a set of stories . . . that hits a set of advertisers that are very valuable to a company or a corporation, there is some discouragement to follow that path of stories.  That probably always been the case, but ...with the financial crunch in the economy in recent years. ...that influencing factor became somewhat stronger. "

Attkisson also talked about the staff reductions she'd seen over the last 20 years. Her publisher had changed the title of her book from Unaccountable to Stonewalled. The discussion then turned the lack of transparency in Obama's Washington.  She graded this administration with an "F."  She specifically talked about the difficulty in getting information from Health and Human Services, citing FOIA requests that take 10 years to get. 

She talked specifically about investigating vaccine stories. "The FDA shuts you out. I had the press person, the first time I met her, from FDA literally walk up to me and say ,'I hate you.'  I was so literally taken aback, I'd never met her before, but this is sort of their attitude. They shut you out and they won't call you for press conferences and they won't clue you in on things.  But I argue, all you're losing is the propaganda they want you to have anyway.  You're never going to get a great "get" from the administration or from a federal agency about themselves and something they've done wrong, which is primarily the watchdog reporting I do. 

Attkisson said networks were threatened with not getting access to sources if they aired stories that were not favorable to the government. When asked about having her young adult daughter also go into journalism, she said she wouldn't advise it.

There was one very attention-getting statement about halfway through the interview:  "I argue corporation and government has almost become one and the same in their interests in recent years.

Special interests have been able to, I say figuratively, buy and  pay for Capitol Hill interests.  Many congressmen, the people on the committees on Capitol Hill who are supposed to watchdog certain industries and corporations, now fund raise--They get on those committees so they can fundraise from those very industries.  Those are like key positions that they want to have so they can stay in office and serve the interests of those contributors rather than of the American public.  It's all melded together in such a way that I think everyone is serving corporate and powers that be masters.  And the media, we're supposed to be the ones, if all else fails, we're supposed to hold them accountable, and I think we're falling short in many cases, of doing that." 

"To often now, we accept what politicians say uncritically and without checking. We are more likely now, as a general group in the media, I see this more than I used to, to take a press release or a pronouncement ...by a federal agency, even one that's been proven to provide misinformation or inaccurate information in the past, and take that as fact without checking it.... I think we pass along more information like that than we used to. ..."

Attkisson said that "FOIA is about 96 percent broken.  Occasionally I can get something." ...

"It's pretty much pointless and useless."

Her goal: "I think my main goal at this stage of my life and career is to be able to publish stories that have some meaning, that are original, that maybe go against powers that be that others are afraid of, and have it be done in a way that's honest and straightforward and not  shaped by the efforts that are out there to shape it in one direction or another." 

And her book..."Is to make the public aware that the images that they see on the news and elsewhere everyday ... are manipulated in many cases by unseen forces that are being paid to do this...

Sharyl Attkisson, a five time Emmy winning journalist has given us this coverage of the vaccine autism link, including the work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

Vaccines and Autism: A New Review March 31, 2011

Vaccines, Autism and Brain Damage: What's in a Name? Sept 14, 2010

Dr. Mercola and Sharyl Attkisson (Part 1) Nov 17, 2009

Dr. Mercola and Sharyl Attkisson (Part 2) Nov 17, 2009

Dr. Mercola and Sharyl Attkisson (Part 3) Nov 17, 2009

Dr. Mercola and Sharyl Attkisson (Part 4)

Controversy Over Vaccine Research Oct 7, 2009

HPV Vaccine Side Effects Aug 18, 2009

Healy On Vaccine-Autism Link July 28, 2008

How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders? July 25, 2008

Gardasil HPV Vaccine Side Effects, July 8, 2008

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gardasil-hpv-vaccine-side-effects/

Is HPV Vaccine Safe? July 7, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Irc8CHK0c

Vaccine Watch, June 19, 2008

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/vaccine-watch-19-06-2008/

The "Open Question" On Vaccines and Autism, May 12, 2008

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-open-question-on-vaccines-and-autism/

The Theories About Autism And Vaccines March 7, 2008

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-theories-about-autism-and-vaccines/

Vaccine Case: An Exception Or A Precedent? March 6, 2008

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/vaccine-case-an-exception-or-a-precedent/

Vaccines on Trial 2007

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/vaccines-on-trial/

Mercury Link To Autism? June 22, 2004

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/mercury-link-to-autism/

Autism, Mercury Link Disputed May 18, 2004

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/autism-mercury-link-disputed/

 
Anne Dachel Book CoverAnne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of  The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.

Comments

Betty Bona

Carol,
I watched the documentary. Very depressing, but thanks for posting. People tune in to the news station with their political slant and think they're getting the news, but we haven't been getting any real news in years. Political fighting that ends in fiscal shutdown gives the big conglomerates even more power because they hold the purse strings. It also gives the news people something to talk about. I think it's all trumped up. The big conglomerates could do away with either party if they wanted to, but they wouldn't want to because the two party system keeps the public thinking we actually have a democracy. Like I said before, I don't see anyone to vote for who can stand for truth in this system.

Carol

This excellent documentary is about the corporate takeover of our airwaves and the death of investigative journalism. The first two stories are about CBS: http://www.linktv.org/programs/shadows-of-liberty

Mercky Business

A mom

The wealthy are not going to be as bothered by sanctions if they don't vaccinate anyway.

A Mom

Lisa, I think it's a safe bet that the very rich 1% are not eating GMO foods or receiving the same versions of vaccines that the rest of the population is.

Jeannette Bishop

A very helpful compilation. Thank you!

Anne Dachel

It is a pleasure to see that Sharyl Attkisson continues to talk.

This interview is really disturbing to listen to. Most members of the press today are not what you would call true investigative reporters. Instead, they do what they're told and produce stories that make industry look good and back anything this government is saying.

Four years ago I wrote the piece "What Would Woodward Do?" about what Bob Woodward felt good journalism is all about.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/06/what-would-woodward-do-an-autism-analogy.html

"Then he added, ' think there will always be investigative or in-depth reporting. Clearly the newspapers are going through a convulsion right now. It may last a long time. But young people are going to develop new business models. ...It's important to have good data, good information about what government does. I asked Ben Bradlee, the editor of the Post, what he thought. ...He said with great passion that there'll always be a group of people...working to get to the under layer of what's going on and they will find a way to publish or broadcast or convey what they believe the truth to be.'"

UNIVERSALLY, the issue of vaccine safety and everything about the topic of autism is MISREPORTED. We seen it for years. No one has any idea about autism is really to America's children and what we read about vaccines is always propaganda designed to sell the program as safe and effective.

I can only imagine that when we all wake up to the demographic changes and costs as a result of the wave of young autistic adults living off the system, people will demand answers.

They'll want to know how come no one warned them all these people constituted a NEW DISABILITY. "We thought it was just better diagnosing." "How are we going to support all these people?"

"Reporter jokes" will replace "lawyer jokes."

Lisa

Depressing!! It is interesting, though, to get this information from the inside. I suspected as much but was wondering (maybe hoping) if I was off base in some way. It is hard not to wish that some of these people personally experience the results of their money grubbing ways, such as have themselves or a family member who suffers the effects of GMOs or over-vaccination or mercury laced vaccines or whatever else they arrogantly protect. I know that sounds a bit mean spirited but ultimately we all live on the same planet and breathe the same air and have more or less the same doctors. Good luck to them avoiding the consequences of their actions. By the way, congress is on the verge of approving a new GMO potato, barely tested, and soon coming to a school lunch and restaurant near you. Chow down, politicians and your kids! Bon appetite! You really think it's safe?

Slavestothepowersthatbe

..."driven by social media" - exactly - you have dufus' like that guy who defused the chili fundraiser, all with high praise from "the powers that be" and women reporters who have an agenda to attack any celebrities by calling them a 'communist' (such as Lisa Kennedy did) if they don't vaccinate, for example. The majority of people are sick of this kind of action.
And people are surprised when a pregnant celebrity like Mila Kunis (who plans a home birth) give a rude interview?? They need to look at why.

Beth

There is hope for unbiased reporting as is evidenced by the work here at AoA. There are still concerned people in the world and smart ones too mixed in among the sheeple.

I would love for Sharyl Atkisson to head a new online news agency - one that focuses on investigative reporting. Sharyl if you are reading you can make a living off of it.

Just bring eyeballs to your site with great content and google et al will serve you all the advertising revenue you need. Since your staff would not be contracting with advertisers you can be free to report on any and all questionable industries.

Betty Bona

I saw Woodward and Bernstein on one of the Sunday morning shows last weekend. They mentioned that true investigative reporting has not been happening lately on controversial issues like the IRS scandal. It confirms what Sheryl is saying. Like Bob Moffitt says, it's now advocacy journalism, and I would not encourage that profession for anyone I know any more than I would encourage them to be a pharma sales rep. I wouldn't encourage med school either. It's more about indoctrination than education. And medical research is not "investigative" anymore. It's "advocacy research". We need a mini revolution. I hope the younger generation is up to it. My worry is that nothing will happen until we're all too chronically ill to do anything! I know Wakefield says we need to vote with our health care beliefs rather than foreign policy or fiscal policy, but I just don't see anyone to vote for.

 Bob Moffitt

Sharyl states:

"We have lost--really all the investigative reporters from CBS News are gone. They still have an investigative unit of producers. . . but the on-air people that were doing investigative reporting over the last couple of years--they're all gone."

The transformation of the journalism-broadcast professions .. from "investigation" .. to "advocacy" .. has been a disaster for our country. As things stand today .. the "watch-dog press" that our Founding Fathers sought to protect .. has been replaced by a "lap-dog press" .. that does not require our Constitution for protection.

Today's "lap-dog press" is protected by the vested interests they serve .. the public be damned.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)