A Reporter Resigns

Sharyl Attkisson, an investigative reporter with CBS News, resigned from her position today. Her resignation is one of those stories where your reaction to it may well depend on your political inclinations.

By any measure, Attkisson was an accomplished television journalist. She was regarded as one of the top investigative reporters on TV, and in her career she had won five Emmys — for reports on the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking program, the Red Cross, Republican fundraising, TARP and the border patrol. She’s going to finish writing a book, tentatively entitled Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington, that apparently will focus on the challenges of reporting critically on the Obama Administration.

Those ever-present anonymous sources, though, say there’s more to it than a desire to complete a book. According to the Politico article linked above, some people say Attkisson was fed up with a perceived liberal bias at CBS and tired of the lack of support for investigative reporting on the network. Other sources contend that network executives thought Attkisson lacked impartiality and that her reports were increasingly motivated by a bias against President Obama.

I don’t know the truth, of course, although I’m a bit skeptical of the unnamed sources. When reporters are reporting on fellow reporters, you wonder whether the sources end up being other reporters gossiping with each other. We’ll probably never know the real back story.

But, we do know this: there are too few investigative reporters on TV to begin with, and Attkisson’s resignation means that the count of capable investigative reporters has just decreased by one. I don’t care what her political views are — any loss of a skilled broadcast investigative reporter is a loss for everyone. We need more of them, not less. I hope she finds her way back to TV soon.