CBS News Faces Backlash Over Journalism Scandal After It Seized Award-Winning Reporter’s Confidential Files

Veteran national security reporter Catherine Herridge was abruptly terminated from her job at CBS News nearly one week ago under suspect circumstances.

Herridge’s eagle-eyed, intrepid, and uncompromising approach to journalism in the murky and deep underbelly of Washington D.C. politics was a breath of fresh air for Americans who longed to know the inner workings of their own government.

Thus, it came as an unpleasant surprise when the award-winning journalist was axed from CBS News in the kind of media blood-letting that typically includes the unheralded rank-and-file.

Herridge, however, has been a thorn in the side of the Biden administration, which has been mired in national security scandals that have gone largely unreported in major news outlets like CBS News.

In contrast to the majority of corporate journalists, the investigative reporter has been strikingly unwilling to twist narratives to suit the D.C. establishment or withhold counter-factuals that are necessary to fully understand the balance of an important story.

On everything from the border crisis to the Russia-Ukraine war to Covid to the January 6th riots, Herridge has steadfastly and fairly reported down-the-middle on stories without prejudice or favor regarding the power players involved.

So it is with grave concern for the future of journalism that a story out of CBS News arises that indicates that her former employer seized her confidential files in an unsanctioned violation of her sources and methods.

Legal analyst Jonathan Turley, in a story at The Hill providing extended commentary and analysis, provides an overview of the concerning situation.

There is trouble brewing at Black Rock, the headquarters of CBS, after the firing of Catherine Herridge, an acclaimed investigative reporter. Many of us were shocked after Herridge was included in layoffs this month, but those concerns have increased after CBS officials took the unusual step of seizing her files, computers and records, including information on privileged sources.

The position of CBS has alarmed many, including the union, as an attack on free press principles by one of the nation’s most esteemed press organizations.

Turley’s sources within CBS News, where he worked under contract twice as a legal analyst, indicates that the seizure of Herridge’s work materials and computer files was a stark departure from common practice.

I have spoken confidentially with current and former CBS employees who have stated that they could not recall the company ever taking such a step before. One former CBS journalist said that many employees “are confused why [Herridge] was laid off, as one of the correspondents who broke news regularly and did a lot of original reporting.”

That has led to concerns about the source of the pressure. He added that he had never seen a seizure of records from a departing journalist, and that the move had sent a “chilling signal” in the ranks of CBS.

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.

Get The Free News Addicts Newsletter

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Herridge declined to make any public comments on her departure.

CBS also did not respond to my inquiries about this.

Critically, Turley notes the suspicious political circumstances of Herridge’s sudden termination and the ensuing seizure of her confidential files.

Herridge had been a celebrated investigative reporter at Fox News. An old-school investigative journalist, she is viewed as a hard-driving, middle-of-the-road reporter cut from the same cloth as the network’s legendary figures.

The timing of Herridge’s termination immediately raised suspicions in Washington. She was pursuing stories that were unwelcomed by the Biden White House and many Democratic powerhouses, including the Hur report on Joe Biden’s diminished mental capacity, the Biden corruption scandal and the Hunter Biden laptop. She continued to pursue these stories despite reports of pushback from CBS executives, including CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews.

Given the other layoffs and declining revenues, the inclusion of Herridge was defended by the network as a painful but necessary measure. But then something strange happened. The network grabbed Herridge’s notes and files and informed her that it would decide what, if anything, would be turned over to her. The files likely contain confidential material from both her stints at Fox and CBS. Those records, it suggests, are presumptively the property of CBS News.

For many of us who have worked in the media for decades, this action is nothing short of shocking.

Herridge, in a break from her usual subdued demeanor and tendency for understatement, had expressed on a panel at “Face the Nation” a grave concern for the future of America should there be a “black swan” event in 2024.

National security reporter Catherine Herridge surely knew more about the three-letter agencies dominating D.C. politics than she let on during her stints at Fox News and CBS News. Her unceremonious termination at CBS News, amid an egregious offense against her as an investigative journalist, may present her with ample opportunity to warn Americans about the hidden agendas of the increasingly dangerous actors in Washington D.C.

By Melinda Davies
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x