05/26/2013 -- A new Politico portrait of CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson by Dylan Byers could prove to be a very important story, and possibly a logical next step in uncovering what may have been a patent resurgence of direct and inappropriate left-wing political interference during the Presidential election process by a news media figure (or figures) at the CBS news network.
Shades of the Dan Rather and Mary Mapes attempted media coup? Well, there are certainly many unanswered questions about the 2012 coverage -- and non-coverage -- that CBS has since conspicuously failed to address. They should examine those matters. Therefore, the problem certainly seems to run far deeper than a personality conflict between Sharyl Attkisson and a news producer, Patricia Shevlin.
John Nolte at Breitbart News highlighted the Byers story here, with a perspective piece primarily focused on the reported conflict between Attkisson and CBS Evening News Executive Producer, Patricia Shevlin, entitled, "Politico: Attkisson Fights Bias of CBS Evening News Producer."
As John succinctly put it:
"Byers' story is yet more confirmation that there really is a Narrative Plantation controlled by the left. Recently, we learned that Attkisson was/is having trouble getting Libya reports on the air. What does that tell you, especially now that her Libya reporting (as Byers points out) has been vindicated."Other obvious questions might now include, what role, if any, did Shevlin have in minimizing exposure of the now-famous and muted Presidential response to Steve Kroft on September 12, 2012? And, what role might others have played in the curious history of that "off and on" tape clip during the 2012 election?
Serious questions still remain unaddressed about the curious non-inclusion of that short clip in a CBS 60 Minutes, Wednesday show in mid-September -- a key "question and answer" portion of the interview of President Obama that was conducted on September 12th by Steve Kroft almost immediately following the President's Rose Garden reaction to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. What we now know followed that initial suppression, was the continued burying of that clip during the heart of the campaign and the equally mysterious and quietly unannounced initial appearance of the clip on the CBS website, just two days before the 2012 election.
That late CBS posting was obviously too close to the end for the newsworthy clip to have any effect in meaningfully addressing what had emerged during the second Presidential debate, on October 16th as a key issue in the fall campaign -- the timeline of the President's public posture in identifying the attack at the Libyan outpost, as an act of terrorism.
During that debate, the President had received an unwarranted political boost by at least initial backing from moderator, Candy Crowley. But even the Washington Post now concedes (seven months late) that the President earned a disreputable "four Pinocchios" for his brazen dissembling during that exchange. For their part, CBS quietly kept the lid on the proof they had to the contrary (of the President's claim)! Who at CBS -- obviously other than Steve Kroft and his producer --inappropriately kept the lid on that clip after that second debate?
And then, why did CBS so furtively post that obviously newsworthy clip too late to have a legitimate role in the election, and even then, fail to draw any attention to it, such as on the CBS Evening News?
Who were the network players in that "delicate" handling of the clip? Was Bob Scheiffer, a news anchor, aware of the clip before he moderated the third debate on October? How about the recently boastful Scott Pelly, who has been the CBS Evening News prime anchor since May of 2011? He too, incidentally was an old hand from 60 Minutes.
Because of an obvious appearance of a conflict of interest in the matter, did CBS News President David Rhodes, the brother of the Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, the NSA editor of the Benghazi "Talking Points," recuse himself from any decision-making role in the matter at CBS? Or, did he play an active role in keeping it quiet?
In sum, who among the top players at CBS News made the final decisions regarding the suspicious handling of that tape clip? Or, was that clip merely a victim of CBS groupthink?
Dylan Byers' Politico piece seems to write off the possibility that David Rhodes has been anything other than pleased with Sharyll Attkisson's investigative reporting on the Obama Administration . . . "CBS News president David Rhodes is said to value her diligence," but Byers does not specifically address questions about the handling of the Kroft tape, and whether Rhodes may have played any role in that.
And, perhaps most importantly from the perspective of Executive Producer Patricia Shevlin . . . why was that Kroft clip not the subject of a lead news story on the CBS Evening News, such as in the immediate aftermath of the second debate "kerfuffle" between the President and Mitt Romney, which occurred on October 16th; or prior to (or during) the third debate on the 22nd, which was moderated by CBS's own Bob Schieffer; or even at the time of the quiet initial posting of the tape on the CBS network's website, just two days before the election? It was quietly posted at that time, with no story on the CBS Evening News.
As we have previously noted, only Fox News openly covered the obviously newsworthy and significant Kroft clip that had been curiously concealed initially, then kept bottled up during a few key moments of the campaign, and then was finally posted without comment at the last second during the campaign, too late to matter . . all that having occurred as a result of decisions made at the CBS network.
Does partisan political bias at CBS still run as deep as it did in the Dan Rather years?
We all still recall the key role and unquestionable bias of CBS 60 Minutes producer, Mary Mapes, who teamed with disgraced former CBS news anchor, Dan Rather back in the fall of 2004, in their attempted-but-failed media-based coup, having publicized known and absolutely fake documents on the Wednesday edition of the show. Even the hired CBS document expert questioned the authenticity of the Killian documents that Rather and Mapes had presented as legitimate. That show was subsequently exposed as an openly partisan effort to reshuffle the odds of that year's Presidential race, obviously intended to undermine the Bush reelection effort by throwing the President off stride in the heat of the campaign.
However, a resultant dizzying round of highly convincing internet based document analytics that followed immediately on the heels of that corrupt airing of the bogus documents, collectively contributed to by a variety of previously unknown bloggers, not only slammed the door on the legitimacy of those documents, but also stemmed the previously absolute media dominance of the mainstream media, cementing with proof what had largely consisted of prior suspicions of left wing bias in the media.
One interesting career fact readers may not be aware of is that CBS's Patricia Shevlin, really cut her eye teeth in the news business as a producer of the CBS Evening News (1989 - 1991), and then as a senior producer (1995 - 2000), for Dan Rather for many years during the lengthy period during which he was the network's prime anchor.
Now that long-time connection to the biased new figure may or may not mean anything with regard these latest CBS machinations. But what is undeniable is the fact that Shevlin was the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News when the decisions were made to forgo coverage of the Kroft clip during the news hour.
At a minimum, therefore, the CBS network definitely owes the public an explanation for the curious and obviously inappropriate handling of that tape clip at a few important points during the 2012 election campaign. And Patricia Shevlin should indeed be one focus of inquiry in particular, in piecing together that explanation.