PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson defended a question posed to President Obama by CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett about Americans still being held captive in Iran following the agreement reached this week regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
Attkisson told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT she did not think there was anything improper with the question Garrett asked and that the job of journalists is to ask pointed questions.
“There is a view among some journalists, I think, that it’s disrespectful to put this President, in particular, on the spot or to ask him what they view as a tough question. I didn’t think that was a tough question. I think he was perfectly prepared for it. He had an answer. He’s not a delicate flower. He should be able to answer those questions. But the tone of the President’s voice and appearing to, pretending to, or genuinely taking offense to the question, I think, is what made the news. Maybe, perhaps, as intended.”
She believes Garrett will face some strong repercussions from the White House and some of his colleagues for pressing the issue with President Obama.
“There will be a strategy. Who knows what form it takes? It could be, and has been in the past in different instances, actual phones calls to people at our network. It could be social media or Twitter campaigns, getting their bloggers, either overtly, or just as a matter of fact that the bloggers support the Administration, to write things about Major, to gin it up and try to make it where anything that he reports that’s not flattering to the Administration will now be portrayed as a personal agenda and unfair. There will people inside CBS, certainly not all of them, there are certain people that won’t like that he asked that question and will seek to undermine him and some of his reporting.”
Attkisson lamented the current state of relations between the press and the White House, reiterating that press conferences are not always cordial and polite.
“I knew the response would be what it was among some people. I think that’s part of the problem today with the view of what our job is [and] the view of what the government’s job is. It’s like this notion, almost as if, there’s a belief that the press works for the government or should somehow be very deferential to the government and the President.”