Herridge Set to Discuss CBS Firing and Press Freedom at Congressional Hearing

Source: X/​​CBS_Herridge / Shutterstock

Back in February, Catherine Herridge who is an ex-CBS news correspondent had her files seized from her by CBS after she was controversially fired. She’s now set to break her silence before the House Judiciary Committee.

The self-acclaimed investigative journalist is well known for her reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Next week, she will testify before the powerful panel on the questionable events that surrounded her exit from CBS News, according to a source close to the situation.

Fighting For Free Press!

The potentially explosive hearing will happen on April 11th at 9:30 a.m. According to the unnamed source. The title of the hearing is “Fighting for a free press: protecting journalists and their sources”. That’s intense.

Source: X/CBS_Herridge

it’s not just Herridge giving her testimony. Sag-aftra chief news and broadcast officer Mary Cavallaro will also talk about the union’s negotiations with CBS to give Herridge back her confidential materials after she was fired, per the source.

Ex-Employees Lining Up To Testify Against CBS

The list of journalists lining up to testify against the network doesn’t end there. Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS news reporter like Catherine is also set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. 

Source: Flickr/Bret Simmons

She resigned from the network back in 2014 over claims that CBS refused stories that painted former U.S. president Barack Obama in a not-so-good light, according to the source.

Committee Chair Demands An Explanation

House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demanded that CBS hand over the information regarding the events that led up to the seizure of the file by March 1.

Source: Al Drago

However, a top-ranked CBS source mentioned that neither CBS News CEO Wendy McMahon nor CEO George Cheeks were a part of the decision to seize Herridge’s files. Amongst these include information on who handled Herridge’s files and who had the order for them to be kept.

Seizure Not Unusual, CBS Says

Some sources have called the act ‘unprecedented’ at CBS. However, the network claimed in a response addressed to the committee that the event was not an isolated incident.

Source: Michele Crowe

“The unprecedented actions of CBS News threaten to chill good journalism and ultimately weaken our nation’s commitment to a free press,” The committee wrote in a letter they addressed to CBS News president Ingrid Ciprian.

Speculations On The Reason For CBS’s Actions

Some sources speculated that the network be of the opinion that the information contained in Herridge’s files could lead to a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

Source: X/CBS_Herridge

Others were of the opinion that she might have sensitive information in her possession — including sources — that are crucial to her investigation into Hunter Biden’s case.

Questions Marks Continue To Linger Over CBS Actions

Sag-aftra was instrumental during negotiations for the safe return of the files. but questions marks continue to linger about why CBS News withheld them.

Source: X/CBS_Herridge

At the time, the CBS files were untouched and no eyes had read through them. they also mentioned that they had kept them locked inside Herridge’s former office.

Part Of A Bigger Purge

Herridge’s First Amendment case has garnered widespread attention from journalists nationwide. She was one of the 20 CBS news staffers who were let go as part of an even bigger purge of 800 employees by Paramount.

Source: YouTube/CBS News

Among those who were affected by the layoffs were some of the most high-profile journalists at CBS News. Asides Catherine Herridge who was a senior investigative correspondent, chief national affairs and justice correspondent Jeff Pegues was also part of the mass layoffs.

Opposition From Higher-Ups

While she was at CBS, Herridge had faced resistance from her superiors over her coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.

Source: Black Enterprise

Amongst those that she faced opposition from was CBS News president Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews. Ingrid was investigated and cleared in 2021 over accusations of favoritism along with hiring and management practices that were considered discriminatory by many.

Press Shield Law To Take Centre Stage

Both Herridge and Attkisson will most certainly bring up the press shield law and emphasize its importance at next week’s hearing. The law provides journalists and their sources protection from overreach and censorship by the government.

Source: New York Post

At the time of her exit, Attkisson mentioned that she was being spied on by a “government-related entity” and that this ‘entity’ had planted classified documents in her PC.

Herridge’s Multiple Court Cases And Appeals

In Herridge’s closely watched First Amendment case, she has had to appeal U.S. district judge Christopher Cooper’s ruling to hold her in contempt for hiding the name of her source for an investigative piece she wrote while she was an employee of FOX News around seven years ago.

Source: X/MarioNawfal

She’d earlier defied a court order earlier in the year by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to disclose her sources. Judge Christopher Cooper’s order arose because of a lawsuit filed by Chinese American scientist Yanping Chen against the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Protecting Journalists And Their Sources

Back in January, the House passed the Press Act. The law shields journalists from any attempts to force them to disclose their sources to government agencies.

Source: Instagram/senschumer

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-Ny) said last month that the law should leave the upper chamber for President Biden’s desk soonest.

Support From Colleagues, Organizations And Viewers

Herridge has received loads of support from fellow journalists, viewers, and organizations alike. On Monday, the U.S. Justice and advocacy group said it is “disappointed” that CBS News fired the journalist. the group had previously partnered with Herridge on a major Investigation.

Source: X/CBS_Herridge

“Catherine’s candor and difficult reporting on the mistreatment of injured Air National Guard service members and another important dod [department of defense] and va [veterans affairs] issues have impacted more than a million United States veterans,” the group said in a statement.

A Significant Cost Attached

Last November, the group worked with Herridge during an investigation that revealed that the National Guard denies 30% of injury claims that are recommended by local commanders. Raising questions among service members about whether correct policies and procedures are followed.

Source: X/CBS_Herridge

“Catherine’s unique ability to dig deep and demand accountability from the U.S. Government comes at a significant personal cost,” the group said. “We support and stand 100% behind Catherine Herridge.”

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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