RUSH: Sharyl, how are you?
ATTKISSON: I’m good. Thank you for having me.
RUSH: No, no, I appreciate it. I’ve been looking forward to it.
You know, I’ve been sitting here, I can’t tell how many years,
regretting that I declined your invitation to the White House
ATTKISSON: I probably won’t ever get invited again anyway now!
RUSH: Well, I’m suspicious of anybody who would invite me to
that — I haven’t been doing it since 1992. But I regretted for a long
time that I didn’t go.
ATTKISSON: You should be suspicious, but I just like to stir things
up, mix things up a little bit. That’s always fun.
RUSH: It would have, there’s no question. Look, before we get to
your book, if you don’t mind, I would really love your opinion on
what has happened to CNN, just as a business, in terms of its audience falloff. Because you were there — that’s where I first became
familiar with your work — during its heyday, or certainly during a
period when it was having much more success than it is now.
There’s got to be some lessons there. It’s a business, and they’re
clearly doing something wrong. I’m not asking you to rip colleagues, but is there anything that has changed there that would
explain what has happened?
ATTKISSON: When I was there — and it was during CNN’s heyday,
I think — during Gulf War I, there was only one 24-hour cable news
channel. So we had the advantage of being the only place people
could watch 24-hour news on TV. Of course, now there are many
places viewers can turn to for nonstop news, and the internet as well.
But even when I was there, CNN struggled with its identity. Are we a
breaking news station? Are we a talk show station? Are we a political
station? There was always some disagreement and managers couldn’t
necessarily get together on what CNN ought to be.
They do know that when there is breaking news, at least when I
was at CNN, the ratings would spike. But in between those fits of
breaking news, the ratings would go down. That led, and I guess all
the cable news channels do this, to an inevitable desire to give the
impression of breaking news with almost any little event that happens, in hopes that people will be fooled into thinking that this is a
big deal, and maybe they’ll watch. So, I don’t have the answer as to
the ratings question, but it’s an identity crisis CNN has struggled
with for at least two decades.
RUSH: Well, if you look at the election results, I wonder — and I’ve
been wondering for years, and in some cases hoping — if there
might be a public awakening that what they’re getting in what’s
called “mainstream media” isn’t aboveboard, it is not objective, that
it is opinion, that it is carrying the water for Democratic administrations. There is no “speaking truth to power” anymore.
Look at you. In your book, in your entire recent career with
your investigative reporting, you were the only network journalist
who was doing her job. You’re the only network journalist who was
doubting what you were hearing from the citadels of power, and
you were checking it out. I haven’t seen any kind of support for you
in what you’ve been up against. Did you expect any, or are you not
surprised by it?
ATTKISSON: Well, I didn’t expect any. I’ve certainly gotten some
from colleagues who agree with what I’ve written. Maybe they’re
My conversation with QA &
I’ve been cheering on this brave investigative reporter,
doggedly searching for truth in the face of brazen attacks
from the Regime and its sycophants — which she has
documented in the must-read Stonewalled: My Fight for
Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation,
and Harassment in Obama’s Washington: