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‘Journalistic rape’: Catherine Herridge slams former CBS bosses over seizure of Biden files

Investigative reporter Catherine Herridge testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on April 11.
by WorldTribune Staff, April 12, 2024

CBS News crossed a "red line" when, after firing her, it seized her files which included information on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, investigative reporter Catherine Herridge told a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday.

“When my records were seized I felt it was a journalistic rape,” Herridge testified at the hearing, titled “Fighting for a Free Press: Protecting Journalists and their Sources.”

“When the network of Walter Cronkite seizes your reporting files, including confidential source information, that is an attack on investigative journalism,” Herridge told the committee.

CBS's action also could have put her sources at risk, the Emmy-award winning reporter said.

“CBS News’s decision to seize my reporting records crossed a red line that I believe should never be crossed by any media organization,” Herridge said. “Multiple sources said they were concerned that by working with me to expose government corruption and misconduct they would be identified and exposed.”

In a written response to the committee, CBS News attempted to explain that the episode was not unusual.

CBS said no one had rifled through the files and that they were eventually locked inside Herridge’s former office in Washington, D.C., before being returned after outcry from her union, SAG-AFTRA.

Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan asked Herridge if she wrote critical stories about Hunter Biden, the laptop, the Biden family, the business operation and the Biden brand.

Herridge replied: ” I reported out the facts of the story. I called balls and strikes.”

“You sure did,” Jordan said. “You reported the facts and then CBS fired you!”

Herridge is also fighting a closely watched First Amendment case in which she has appealed U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper’s decision to hold her in contempt for withholding the name of her source for an investigative piece she penned when she was working for Fox News seven years ago.

Herridge said that the litigation and being held in contempt has “taken a toll on me and my career.”

“One of our children recently asked me if I would go to jail, if we would lose our house, and if we would lose our family savings to protect my reporting sources,” she said. “I wanted to answer that, in this country, where we say we value democracy and the role of a vibrant and free press, it was impossible. But I couldn’t offer that assurance.”

“When you go through major life events, as I have in recent weeks, losing your job, your health insurance, having your reporting files seized by your former employer, and being held in contempt of court, it gives you clarity,” she said. “The First Amendment, the protection of confidential sources, and a free press are my guiding principles. They are my North Star.”

Thursday's hearing also included testimony from former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who quit the network in 2014 over claims that CBS killed stories that put then-President Barack Obama in a bad light.

Attkisson told the committee that her critical reporting of the government resulted in her phone being tapped.

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