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Catherine Herridge Slams CBS News Seizing Her Notes

via CBS
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Veteran CBS News investigative journalist Catherine Herridge was laid off and had her office files seized by the network, raising questions about the reasons for her dismissal.

Herridge had reported on sensitive issues like the Hunter Biden laptop scandal and faced pushback from CBS executives.

“Important update via @sagaftra,” Herridge wrote on X.

“SAG-AFTRA strongly condemns CBS News’ decision to seize Catherine Herridge’s reporter notes and research from her office, including confidential source information. This action is deeply concerning to the union because it sets a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment,” the statement read.

“It is completely inappropriate for an employer to lay off a reporter and take the very unusual step of retaining and searching the reporter’s files, inclusive of confidential source identification and information. From a First Amendment standpoint, a media corporation with a commitment to journalism calling a reporter’s research and confidential source reporting “proprietary information” is both shocking and absurd.”

“The retention of a media professional’s reporting materials by their former employer is a serious break with traditional practices which supports the immediate return of reporting materials. We urge CBS to return this material to Catherine in support of the most basic of First Amendment principles. We are encouraged by recent outreach by CBS News to SAG-AFTRA on this matter, and we are hopeful that it will be resolved shortly,” the statement added.

After her firing, the network took the unusual step of retaining her confidential reporting materials and source information.

“Many of us were shocked after Herridge was included in layoffs this month, but those concerns have increased after CBS officials took the unusual step of seizing her files, computers and records, including information on privileged sources,” George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley wrote.

“Given the other layoffs and declining revenues, the inclusion of Herridge was defended by the network as a painful but necessary measure. But then something strange happened. The network grabbed Herridge’s notes and files and informed her that it would decide what, if anything, would be turned over to her. The files likely contain confidential material from both her stints at Fox and CBS,” he said.

The union SAG-AFTRA condemned CBS’s decision as a threat to press freedom and journalists’ ability to protect sources.

While CBS said it was willing to return Herridge’s files, concerns were raised given her history of clashes over stories unwelcome to Democrats.

“The heavy-handed approach to the files left many wondering if it was the result of the past reported tension over stories,” he wrote.

Her abrupt dismissal and CBS seizing highly sensitive files, a break from standard practice, suggested other motives may have been at play beyond budget cuts.

The timing and CBS’s actions fueled suspicions Herridge was terminated for her investigative reporting on politically sensitive matters.

“One former CBS journalist said that many employees ‘are confused why [Herridge] was laid off, as one of the correspondents who broke news regularly and did a lot of original reporting,’” Turley wrote.

“She was pursuing stories that were unwelcomed by the Biden White House and many Democratic powerhouses, including the Hur report on Joe Biden’s diminished mental capacity, the Biden corruption scandal and the Hunter Biden laptop. She continued to pursue these stories despite reports of pushback from CBS executives, including CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews,” he wrote.

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