CBS's Sharyl Attkisson is apparently viewed by network executives as "wading dangerously close to advocacy" in her coverage of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, as Politico's Dylan Byers asserted in a Wednesday item. Byers reported that "Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized."
Attkisson's minute-long report about the House Oversight Committee's latest hearing on the attack on Wednesday's CBS This Morning was actually the first time since November 23, 2012 that the journalist reported about the story on air, according a search on Nexis.
During this gap of over five months, the CBS investigative journalist did appear on her network's morning and evening newscasts, but she was assigned to cover other stories. Attkisson filed reports on the congressional investigation into the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; border security; the confirmation hearings for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; the safety problems with Boeing 787 batteries; the controversial proposal to allow knives back on airliners; and the budget sequestration and its effects.
However, the correspondent was also assigned to report on miscellaneous lower profile issues, including the high price of American-made kitchen furnishings; privacy concerns with smartphone apps; federal regulation of passenger buses; and a lawsuit against several overseas banks by the victims of terrorist attacks.
Attkisson's reporting on Benghazi for CBSNews.com has been sporadic at times as well. Since her last on-air report in November 2012, Attkisson filed three items for her network's website during the reminder of the year, with the last dated December 11. Two months would lapse before she would post her next online report on the terrorist attack on February 12. But this story was a one-off, as another three weeks would go by before Attkisson would file her next report on CBSNews.com.
The correspondent posted reports on the continuing investigation into the attacks on March 5 and March 11, 2013, but this was followed by another month-plus gap. Attkisson would go on to post six reports on CBS News' website between April 17 and May 6.
During the five-plus months between Attkisson's on-air reports on Benghazi, conservative blogs, such as Twitchy.com, have picked up on the CBS's journalist's reporting on the issue on her Twitter account. Perhaps this attention is part of the reason that the network executives at the liberal media outlet see her as "wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue."
The full transcript of Sharyl Attkisson's report on Wednesday's CBS This Morning:
CHARLIE ROSE: A House committee hears testimony today on the assault at the United States consulate in Benghazi. Four Americans were killed , including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Republicans believe the White House manipulated information about the attack. Democrats call the hearing a witch hunt.
Sharyl Attkisson is on Capitol Hill. Sharyl, good to see you and good morning.
[CBS News Graphic: "Benghazi Investigation: Testimony Could Contradict White House Account"]
SHARYL ATTKISSON: Thank you – good morning to you. What's going to happen today is very unusual. Three current, fairly high-ranking State Department officials – an expert in security, an expert in counter-terrorism, and a top diplomat – will, in essence, be contradicting parts of the Obama administration's accounts on Benghazi. It's taken eight months for the first eyewitness, who was on the ground that night, to publicly step forward. He is Greg Hicks. He was the number two to Ambassador Chris Stevens. He's expected to say, among other things, that a small team of special forces was prevented from going from Tripoli to Benghazi to help that night.
He's also expected today to talk about his 2 am phone call with Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State. He says he briefed her for about ten minutes, that he was looking for guidance from Washington, but he says he felt Washington was, in essence, asking them on the ground what to do. Charlie and Norah?
O'DONNELL: Sharyl Attkisson, thank you.