FTVLive reported yesterday that former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson will be doing some journalism for Sinclair Broadcast Group, a company that “owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 167 television stations in 77 markets, after pending transactions.” All those stations, says Sinclair’s website, reach almost 40 percent of U.S. households, via affiliates of the major networks as well as lesser-known entities.
In an internal memo captured by FTVLive, a Sinclair executive said that Attkisson would be working as a “freelance independent investigative reporter.”
One television critic, with fondness, called Sinclair a “mini-Fox-News,” and others have noted the company’s conservative leanings. The recent oeuvre of Attkisson — heavy on Obama administration screw-ups and scandals — may well have appealed to the broadcaster. We have attempted to get comment from Sinclair, thus far unsuccessfully.
So there are some unanswered questions at this point:
*Why freelance? The internal memo boasts that Attkisson Sharyl “is an award winning journalist, whose work has been recognized for more than a decade. She has broken many major stories including Fast and Furious, Benghazi and numerous government accountability stories.” So then why no permanent, salaried position?
*Will Sinclair fight Attkisson’s fights? After resigning from CBS News earlier this year, Attkisson filled the airwaves with often-vague complaints about how CBS News couldn’t be relied upon to publish her bold investigative stories. “With various stories, you do get the idea at some point that they want you to stop, especially if you start to dig down right into something very, very important, and it’s not just with political stories — it’s with stories that go after other interests, corporations, different things,” she said on a radio program. In a recent C-SPAN interview, Attkisson said that her CBS News bosses declined to engage in lawsuits to pry loose documents on Benghazi and Obamacare. So, will Sinclair meet her demands?
*Will Sinclair air all the material that CBS News allegedly killed? Given Attkisson’s tales of frustration at CBS News, she would appear to have a load of perhaps explosive stories that her bosses lacked the courage to put before the public. Since leaving her former employer, Attkisson has done some work for the Daily Signal, the news organ of the Heritage Foundation. Here’s hoping that Sinclair will clear out Attkisson’s backlog. We’ll be watching.