LIONEL PODCAST: My Interview With Sharyl Attkisson, The Brave Investigative Reporter Who Believes in Exposing the Truth

Oh, that H.L., what a card. “American journalism (like the journalism of any other country) is predominantly paltry and worthless. Its pretensions are enormous, but its achievements are insignificant,”  thus spake Mr. Mencken. Well, Ol’ Hank never met Sharyl Attkisson, Emmy award winning investigative journalist and author of the first order. She’s taken on the Obama administration and the torpid and comatose corporate mainstream media, whose very existence depends on waking up and doing its job. Sharyl questions inter alia Benghazi, the (Not So) Affordable Health Care Act [Obama(s)care], Fast and Furious, Ebola, Vaccines and Gardasil, just to name a few.

Can we clone her? And what do these issues all have in common? They’re issues that matter, that are fascinating and that have been for reasons heretofore unknown relegated by many to the ash heap of investigation known as the dread conspiracy theory. She reveals the spiders nest that comprises all to often the corridors of Washington journalism. And yet she certainly has nothing but respect and admiration for her colleagues who share her intrepidity and determination, but they’re few and far between in a timorous world of feckless corporate lackeys and impuissant yes-men (and women) who’ve caved in, sold out and given up.

I do know much about history. (With apologias to Messrs. Adler, Alpert and Cooke.) Phil Graham in 1963, paraphrasing Alan Barth in 1943, noted the following: “So let us today drudge on about our inescapably impossible task of providing every week a first rough draft of history that will never really be completed about a world we can never really understand…” [e.s.] So, think of Ms. Attkisson as providing history’s prolegomenon, it’s proem. She’s a critical component to documenting which all too often this society, who’s the attention span of a gnat, lets lapse into the void while it embraces psychotically #DeflateGate and the latest false prophecy of cosmic snow doom.

Here’s her testimony at the confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch:

SHARYL ATTKISSON: In 2013, Reporters Without Borders downgraded America’s standing in the global free press rankings, rating the Obama administration as worse than Bush’s. It matters not that when caught the government promises to dial back or that [FOX News’] James Rosen gets an apology. The message has already been received. If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state.

For much of history, the United States has held itself out as a model of freedom, democracy, and open accountable government. Freedoms of expression and association are of course protected by the constitution. Today those freedoms are under assault due to government policies of secrecy, leak prevention, and officials contact with the media, combined with large scale surveillance programs. The nominee if confirmed should chart a new path and reject the damaging policies and practices that have been used by others in the past. If we aren’t grave enough to confront these concerns, it could do serious long-term damage to a supposedly free press. Thank you.

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