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SAUNDERS: House Democrats shocked — shocked! — at suggestions of media bias


“There is of course, little evidence of ideological bias at CBS News,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., offered at a House hearing on freedom of the press Thursday.

Clearly, Scanlon lives in a liberal bubble.

At the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government hearing, former CBS national security reporter Catherine Herridge testified about being let go in February despite her many scoops and Emmy nominations.

Conservatives believe Herridge was expendable because of her dogged coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop story. When lawyers for the president’s son and compliant journalists maintained the the laptop content was unverified, Herridge spoke with experts who found no evidence of tampering.

For its part, CBS News has countered that Herridge was let go as part of massive layoffs. She was one of some 800 Paramount staffers who got the boot, including 20 who worked for CBS News.

But it’s not so much Herridge’s layoff that set off alarm bells. It’s CBS News’ seizure of hundreds of pages of her files, “including confidential source information” — an act Herridge likened to “a journalistic rape.”

If unnamed sources can’t expect that they’ll be shielded from exposure, investigation journalism suffers.

“I was locked out of my emails and I was locked out of the office. CBS News seized hundreds of pages of my reporting files including confidential source information,” Herridge told the room.

After a media union advocated for Herridge, CBS returned her files.

The hearing showcased how the two parties have changed roles in the Post-Trump era. Republicans have become champions for the First Amendment and beat reporters, while Democrats are happy to look the other way.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., declared, “Congress is not the proper forum for these personal grievances to be aired or resolved.”

Nadler also scoffed at the very notion of “media bias.”

Tell that to NPR’s Uri Berliner. The Free Press ran a piece in which Berliner revealed that he checked the voter registration of NPR’s D.C. newsroom and found 87 registered Democrats and zero Republicans.

So much for diversity.

Berliner recalled how NPR turned a blind eye to the laptop story. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR’s managing editor explained.

When a story doesn’t feed the progressive narrative, it’s not really news.

Berliner added that NPR interviewed Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., 25 times about former President Donald Trump and Russia. “But when the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion, NPR’s coverage was notably sparse. Russiagate quietly faded from our programming.”

With the absence of a federal press shield law, Herridge has been found in contempt of court and faces fines of $800 a day for refusing to divulge her source for a story she produced for Fox News about a Chinese-American scientist who was investigated by the FBI, but not charged.

Toward the close of the hearing, Herridge acknowledged that she did not know the exact reason CBS canned her, then added, “There was tension over the Hunter Biden reporting and the Biden administration, but I can’t say for sure why I was let go.”

OK, but why did CBS News seize her files?

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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