ATTKISSON: Well, they get contributions from — yes, they get contributions from —STELTER: But specifically to target you?ATTKISSON: Perhaps, sure. I think that’s what some of these groups do, absolutely.
KURTZ: Why did CBS lose interest in your reporting on Benghazi, in your reporting on Obamacare and other subjects, to the point where you were just having difficulty getting on the air?ATTKISSON: I think that’s part of a broader trend that’s happening, not just at CBS, but there seems to be the last couple of years much less interest in what I call original, investigative, in-depth reporting that hasn’t been seen elsewhere. There seems to be a visceral reaction to doing stories that could ruffle feathers, whether it is certain people in the political spectrum or even corporate interests. I think there has come to be a narrowing universe of stories that are desired by the broadcasts, and it leaves us sometimes I think with newscasts that don’t dig very deep.
STELTER: Can you tell me a concrete example of a story that seemed to get quashed along the way or shut down along the way?ATTKISSON: There was a story that looked at a corporate interest, a very powerful corporate interest that I know had been calling around on Capitol Hill and to analysts to try to squelch reporting on the topic. And I assume they also were speaking with CBS because that’s the normal process. And I thought it was a terrific story. My two producers thought so as well, as did some of the managers who looked at it. And in the end, that story was never to air. It was not said to me that it wasn’t airing because there was a corporate interest at stake. We were told instead that at the last minute, after it had been approved and done and people liked it, that it wasn’t perhaps very interesting or that perhaps we should wait until the government came down and made up its mind on the controversy at hand, and then perhaps we could do the story.