Politico’s Dylan Byers reported that the resignation of Sharyl Attkisson from CBS News brought to “an end to months of hard-fought negotiations stemming from her dissatisfaction with the network.” Those negotiations started about a year ago, with Attkisson reportedly seeking to leave the network; executives blocked her exit. Until this week, when she bolted.
That sequence squares with discussions that the Erik Wemple Blog had last year with CBS News staffers — namely, that CBS News leadership wasn’t eager to accede to Attkisson’s attempts to leave the network.
At the same time, however, Attkisson’s profile on the network’s marquee newscast diminished. As the Erik Wemple Blog reported this week, her minutes on the CBS Evening News dropped markedly over the past six years, though she remained active on other CBS News platforms.
So there’s a tension here: On the one hand, Attkisson had trouble getting her top stories onto the network’s No. 1 show; on the other, there was an effort to keep her on board. The Erik Wemple Blog contacted CBS News to ask for an explanation, and we received a quote that has been spending several days in cold storage: “CBS News veteran Sharyl Attkisson is leaving the news division to pursue other endeavors. We appreciate her many contributions and we wish her well.”
We could speculate on what happened here, but speculation is something for which we delight in criticizing others.