Catherine Herridge says gov’t whistleblowers worried after CBS’s ‘journalistic rape’ against her

Veteran journalist Catherine Herridge accused CBS News of “journalistic rape” in front of Congress after she was fired by CBS News who locked her out and seized her files reporting on government corruption.

Herridge is known for her reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. She testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday concerning freedom of the press, breaking her silence for the first time after being terminated by CBS News. She described the actions of the network as an assault on journalism.

“When my records were seized I felt it was a journalistic rape,” Herridge asserted at the hearing that was titled “Fighting for a Free Press: Protecting Journalists and Their Sources.”

“I was locked out of my emails and I was locked out of the office. CBS News seized hundreds of pages of my reporting files including confidential source information,” Herridge recounted.

“When the network of Walter Cronkite seizes your reporting files, including confidential source information, that is an attack on investigative journalism,” the Emmy-award-winning reporter claimed.

The union representing journalists, SAG-AFTRA, and reporters are watching the First Amendment case very closely. Herridge contends that the confiscation of her files also puts her sources at risk.

“CBS News’ decision to seize my reporting records crossed a red line that I believe should never be crossed by any media organization,” she testified. “Multiple sources said they were concerned that by working with me to expose government corruption and misconduct they would be identified and exposed.”

Herridge was with CBS News for four-and-a-half years after reporting at Fox News. She was one of 20 CBS News staffers laid off by the network.

“While some sources called the seizure “unprecedented” at CBS News, the network insisted in a written response to the committee that the episode was not unusual,” the New York Post reported.

“CBS said no one had rifled through the files and that they were eventually locked inside Herridge’s former office in Washington, DC, before being returned after outcry from her union, SAG-AFTRA,” the media outlet added.

That is hardly comforting to Herridge’s sources as the network had plenty of time to go through her files. It’s of interest that she was reporting on government corruption when this happened.

Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked the veteran journalist if she had written pieces concerning Hunter Biden and his laptop, the Biden family, and their business connections.

“I reported out the facts of the story. I called balls and strikes,” Herridge responded.

“You sure did,” Jordan commented. “You reported the facts and then CBS fired you!”

The New York Post noted, “During her time at CBS, Herridge had encountered roadblocks from higher-ups over her Hunter Biden coverage.”

SAG-AFTRA chief news and broadcast officer Mary Cavallaro also testified in front of the committee concerning the union’s negotiations with CBS News to return Herridge’s confidential files and materials.

Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson testified as well. She quit the network in 2014, claiming that they killed stories she was writing on then-President Barack Obama. She also asserted that her reporting on the government resulted in her phone being tapped.

US District Judge Christopher Cooper is holding Herridge in contempt for not revealing her source concerning an investigative piece she wrote at Fox News seven years ago. She is being fined $800 a day. The reporter is appealing the decision and the fines have been put on hold while the case is working its way through the courts.

“A federal judge held veteran investigative reporter Catherine Herridge in civil contempt on Thursday for refusing to divulge her source for a series of Fox News stories about a Chinese American scientist who was investigated by the FBI but never charged,” the Associated Press reported. “U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington imposed a fine of $800 per day until Herridge reveals her source, but the fine will not go into effect immediately to give her time to appeal.”

She claimed the whole sordid attack has “taken a toll on me and my career.”

“One of our children recently asked me if I would go to jail, if we would lose our house, and if we would lose our family savings to protect my reporting sources,” Herridge recounted. “I wanted to answer that, in this country, where we say we value democracy and the role of a vibrant and free press, it was impossible. But I couldn’t offer that assurance.”

“This is not a battle you can fight alone,” the reporter pointed out thanking other journalists and Fox News who are paying for her legal defense. “When you go through major life events, as I have in recent weeks, losing your job, your health insurance, having your reporting files seized by your former employer, and being held in contempt of court, it gives you clarity. The First Amendment, the protection of confidential sources, and a free press are my guiding principles. They are my North Star.”

Herridge referred to the Press Act, which protects journalists from being forced into disclosing sources to government agencies. She is pushing to get it passed in Congress.

Users on X had a lot to say concerning the media, freedom of the press, and the persecution of Herridge:

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