- Billy Masters - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive - Windy City Times
The year-old journalist quietly walked away from Meet the Press with a $4M severance following ratings slump. James Gray on Apocalypse Now, David Gregory's Flight to Nowhere, . We've watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in. Tara and Johnny should replace David Gregory on Meet The Press! Billy Masters - "I will see anything with Chris shirtless in a.
In other words, because supposedly, liberal executive and producers at CBS did not like the stories she did, stories critical of the Obama administration on polarizing topics, like the president's health care overhaul and the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Now, when I sat down to talk with Attkisson this week, it turns out she had a story to tell that she had not told before, of a new organization that she claimed will cave corporate interests and let political bias dictate what stories got to air.
I also asked her some important questions that FOX News had not asked her, about claims of a lack of accuracy and journalistic rigor in her own work. Listen to her story. Sharyl, thank you for joining me. So, what led you to decide to resign? There were a host of factors, but I would say primarily in the last couple of years, there was a declining appetite on the broadcast for original and investigative reporting, at least the kind that I was offering, and it did get to a point where it didn't seem like there was a lot left for me to do.
CBS News' slogan is, original reporting. You said there wasn't much of an appetite for your kind? I think in general, the correspondents will tell you at CBS and other places as well that there is a declining appetite for this on the broadcasts. And in some cases, I think it's seen as maybe too much trouble because of the push-back and the organized campaigns that come to bear on us when we're working on these stories and afterwards as well.
What kind of campaign? Government has adopted campaigns that remind me much of what corporations have always done. E-mail campaigns, telephone calls. You mean complaints about a story after it's aired, that kind of thing? Prior to it airing when they get wind that it's going to air. As it airs, after it airs. There are surrogates who act in the capacity of bloggers. Some of them I think hold themselves out to be independent and really are not independent at all, but they've launched this sort of opposition campaign or effort that starts very early, as soon as they catch wind that a controversial story might be done.
I remember in the radio interview in March, you said, "The various stories, you get the idea that at some point, that they just want you to stop. You went on to say it's the stories that go after other interests, corporations, different things. Who are they in those cases?
Is that CBS producers or executives, someone else? Over the years, it's been a variety of people, but I would say more recently, the unstoppable force has been the broadcast, the programs that the producers that decide what gets on the air in a given day. The executive producers, senior producers. Can you tell me a concrete example of a story that seemed to get squashed along the way or shut down along the way?
There was a story that look to the corporate interest, a very powerful corporate interest that I know have been calling around on Capitol Hill and to analysts to try to squelch reporting on the topic. And I assume they were speaking with CBS because that's the normal process. And I thought it was a terrific story. My two producers thought so as well, as did some of the managers who looked at it.
And in the end, that story was never to air. It was not said to me that it wasn't airing because there was a corporate interest at stake. We were told instead that at the last minute, after it had been approved and done and people liked it, that it wasn't perhaps very interesting or that perhaps we should wait until the government came down and made up its mind on the controversy at hand, and then perhaps we could do the story. What are the reasons, so far as you can tell, for why you had increasing amounts of difficulty getting on the air?
We're talking about, as I mentioned earlier, a year history at CBS. So, are there specific reasons you can cite for why you think you were having a hard time getting stories on? We had a big -- an almost total change in management.
New president came in, new chairman of CBS News, a bunch of new bosses as well. Let me read this from "The Washington Post. Did you feel that way?
I mean, were there political considerations at times? You know, it's fairly well discussed inside CBS News that there are some managers recently who have been so ideologically entrenched that there is a feeling and discussion that some of them, certainly not all of them, have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value.
So you're saying they are liberal or Democrats? I don't know what their registered party is, I just know that the tendency on the part of some of these managers who have key influences has been they never mind the stories that seem to, for example, and I did plenty of them, go against the grain of the Republican Party, but they do often seem to feel defensive about, almost, personally defensive about stories that could make the government look bad.
Even if it's something as simple as a government waste story that doesn't pinpoint anybody in particularly and it takes on both parties. It seems as though some of them were sensitive about any story that might appear as though it criticizes the government. A couple of news story about your resignation cited one particular executive, Patricia Shevlin, who was executive producer of the "CBS Evening News", as someone that you clashed ph with. Is that an example of someone you felt had this ideological stand and was uncomfortable with stories about the administration that were unflattering.
Pat Shevlin was the executive producer of the "Evening News", and I think there's no secret that there were a number of people at CBS News that had some serious issues, but it wasn't isolated to that alone. You said serious issues. What do you mean? There were discussions about certain types of stories that got on the air. There were discussions about the heavy-handed editing. In other words, we had not experienced -- at least I had not experienced and some of them said they had not experienced the extent to which some of the editing went on.
That may not be just her. There are certainly a group of managers in what they call the fishbowl of New York who are responsible. So, it's hard to say it's all at the guidance of her, but that she is executive producer of the show.David Gregory Commits Crime on Meet the Press w/ Wayne LaPierre?
Do you think it had any effect on their interest or lack of interest on stories involving the administration? In one or more conversations that David and I had, he was very much in tune with -- he told me at least -- the types of stories that I do, the types of journalism he thought we should be doing, and I would say we had a meeting of the minds on that that didn't translate to the broadcasts. Is there a pattern you detected if you were to pitch a story about Republicans that was troubling that it would get rejected, or if you pictured a story about Democrats that was troubling, it would get supported?
Was there a pattern? In general, there was a pattern of more -- many more stories in recent years being embraced if they were seen as being positive to government, the administration and even certain corporations, that if they were stories that were pitched that could be perceived as negative to government, administration and certain corporations. And is that -- just to get the timeline here, is that after or is that at all times, including when a Republican was in the White House?
I don't remember having political troubles per se. You're asking me a question I really have to think hard about and I don't have the time to go through it right now. I would say, in general, I don't remember any of the same kind of problems when we had the last management of administration. In that era, I proposed stories and no one ever asked me where they were going and what side they might come down on in the end, because we often didn't know.
You know, we would cover a story and it ended up where it ended up.
David Gregory to “Meet the Press”? – Variety
I think the change now is, there are managers in New York who wants to know how the story is going to come out, and if it doesn't come out the way they like, for many different reasons, it will, as I said, die the death of a thousand cuts and probably not air.
When I asked about the timeline because there is a difference potentially between avoiding stories that would hurt the Obama administration and avoiding stories that would hurt whatever administration happened to be in power.
I didn't sense any resistance to doing stories that were perceived to be negative to the Bush administration by anybody ever. I do -- I have done stories that were not received well because people thought they would reflect poorly upon this administration. I need to fit in a quick break, but when I come back, I want to play a key part of my interview with Sharyl Attkisson digging into her own journalism. There are some critics who say she just got stories just plain wrong.
You'll want to hear my answers. We'll be back in two minutes. She told me a story she hasn't told before. She talked about how the esteemed news division of CBS is, she says, supervised by people whose bias affects the so-called original reporting the network promotes.
She says those people didn't seem to have the stomachs for tough, adversarial stories. And there's another important aspect of Attkisson story that she also talked about with me, accusations that you can look up on line of repeated errors in her own reporting.
Here's what she had to say. On the flip side, you've been treated harshly by some on the left who say you are presenting conservative bias. You got these dueling impressions of you. Is there truth to that? How do you feel when you've heard that? I do think, again, that's a campaign by those who really want to controversialize the reporting I do so you wouldn't listen to it, because if anybody took a few minutes really just do a Google search, you would see the dozens and dozens of stories I've done that were, in many cases, complemented by liberal press and other liberals as being a very good story, and I have been criticized by the conservative side in the past.
Do you think that's what Media Matters is doing? Media Matters has been campaigning against you and saying you've been inaccurate in your reporting, is that what they're doing? They're just trying to controversialize the issue? Media Matters, as my understanding, is a far left blog group that I think holds itself out to be sort of an independent watchdog group.
And yes, they clearly targeted me at some point. Well, I think they call -- don't they call you? And I was certainly friendly with them as anybody, good information can come from any source.
But when I persisted with Fast and Furious and some of the green energy stories I was doing, I clearly at some point became a target, that they -- you know, I don't know if someone paid them to do it or if they took it on their own. Do you think that's possible that someone paid them?
But specifically to target you? I think that's what some of these groups do, absolutely. I want to take a chance to see if you can respond to a couple of the criticisms that I've read online, that I've seen charged when it comes to your stories, because these have come up in the wake of your resignation from CBS. One of them is from last November. You reported on the security risks on the Healthcare. And it seemed to him that his words had been taken out of order.
He said, I think there's been some rearrangement of the words that I used during the testimony. Of course, that was broadcast on the "CBS Evening News", that these words that he says were rearranged, that were misleading.
Well, if you would check, you would see -- I don't know what you have access to, but there wasn't any rearrangement of words. So just because someone says this, someone who works at the administration who's being questioned at the congressional hearing who's is under pressure, perhaps, for system management or misdeeds just because he says something doesn't mean that's the case. And in fact, many times with the Obama administration and quite frankly sometimes with the Bush administration on various stories, just because the administration or someone who works for them says something doesn't mean it's the truth.
So, I don't -- I think it would be a mistake to take the words that were put out by one side or the other out of hand, without doing the checking yourself and believing it. When you see -- you know, this was something that was written about by the "Washington Post", it's not just a liberal group but also newspapers that tried to be objective -- when you see those cases, when you see that happened, do you feel that's them trying to controversialize your reporting, as I mentioned earlier?
Sorry, I didn't understand the question. When you see "The Washington Post," for example, write about something that they, you know, they are basically saying you're inaccurate on that story, do you feel they're trying to controversalize it, they're coming after you for some reason? Well, it was my understanding what "The Post" did was just take the word of the Democrats who put out a press release and some information afterwards, which was once again inaccurate.
The loudest criticisms that I've heard of your reporting had been about a series that you did years ago, linking -- it was about childhood vaccinations and whether those are linked to a rise in autism, you know?
And you would portray I think at different times as a debate that was continuing to happen in the scientific community. Do you regret those stories, now years later? No, I think those are some of the most important stories I've done and I would like to continue along those lines.
Chuck Todd Inaugurates New Look On ‘Meet the Press’
At some point, it continues to be a very important debate. And yet you hear doctors say that framing that as a debate has hurt people, has damaged people's understanding of medical issues, by encouraging them not to get vaccinated. Well, you can believe that. I'm not here to fight doctors. I'm just saying that factually, I'm not here to advocate for one side or the other. I'm just saying factually, there are many peer-reviewed published studies that do make an association, and the government itself has acknowledged a link.
And again, people can do their own research. They certainly don't have to believe me or even, you know, one doctor over another. I think they need to dig deep and look for themselves. If there is one takeaway you think that the viewers should have about your experience at CBS, especially toward the end, what would it be?
I would say generally look at the big picture, gather information yourself, do your thinking, be suspect of but maybe not overly suspicious, but suspect of the material that you see when we're not listening to the firsthand source because there are very sophisticated efforts to manipulate the images and the information that you see every day, in ways that you won't recognize. And I think we can all be a little more savvy about that.
Sharyl Attkisson, thank you so much for joining me. Thanks for having me. I want you to know, I shared portions of this interview with CBS ahead of time, hoping they would comment, and the network declined to respond directly. My impression is they want to go separate ways as quickly as they can.
It's pretty much the same way the network treated Dan Rather after he departed a number of years ago. A spokeswoman did send along this statement, the same one CBS put out when she resigned in March.
Chuck Todd Inaugurates New Look On ‘Meet the Press’ – Variety
Quote, "We appreciate her many contributions and we wish her well. He's here, back in the United States. And my exclusive interview with him is right after this break.
In the previous segment, Sharyl Attkisson talked about how some people tried to controversialize her reporting. And I think my next guest, Glenn Greenwald, knows exactly what she's talking about. He may well be one of the most controversial journalists in the business right now and he might like it that way. Not only did he disclose this information, he has said that he has names of CIA agents and assets around the world and they're threatening to disclose that.
But in this case, when you have someone who has disclosed secrets like this and threatens to release more, then to me, yes, there has to be -- legal action should be taken against him. This is a very unusual case with life and death implications for Americans. Now, for the record there, Greenwald never actually threatened to release the names of CIA agents. Neither he or any of his colleagues have ever done so. For whatever reason, the congressman's office declined our interview request about Greenwald and Snowden.
But I want to play that clip because it's incredible to think about the distance between that and the Pulitzer Prize for newspaper and online writers. The Pulitzers are the most sought-after prices in journalism.
And last Monday, Greenwald and his colleagues at "The Guardian" where he worked last year shared in the highest Pulitzer of them all, the Prize for Public Service. In a statement, Snowden said the decision was a vindication. Quote, "This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can.
He hasn't really commented on the Pulitzer this week, but now he joins me with an exclusive interview. Glenn, thank you so much for joining me. Great to be with you. Where were you on at 3: Monday when the awards were announced? And what was your initial reaction? I was actually having lunch.
I didn't want to pay too much attention to it or try and follow it too closely, but I had my phone on the table and I knew that the hour was upon us. And so, you know, as I said, I think there was an expectation that the committee had to recognize the reporting in one way or another and the question was going to be how.
And so, to learn that it was a Public Service Award and that it was given to "The Guardian" and to "The Washington Post" for the work that we had done was really gratifying because I think that is what the idea was, that we always try to fulfill, which was doing the reporting in public service. We saw Congressman Peter King, one of your sharpest critics right on Twitter on Monday right afterwards. He said awarding the Pulitzer to Snowden enablers is a disgrace.
Anything you'd like to say back to him about that? I mean, I look at Peter King's condemnation as an enormous badge of honor. You know, if you look at what people were saying about Daniel Ellsberg and "The New York Times" inwhich was now widely recognized as extraordinarily heroic and noble reporting, the Peter Kings of that era were saying the same thing, they actually were threatening the "New York Times" with prosecution, they impaneled a grand jury to consider prosecuting them.
Senior Obama administration officials were suggesting what we were doing is criminal as well. And that's just part of I think what journalist is, if you want to be adversarial to those wield power, you have to expect that those who wield power aren't going to like what you're doing very much.
And not only that doesn't that bother me, I see that as a vindication that what I'm doing is the right thing. Let me play that infamous now -- a now infamous clip of David Gregory talking to you last year on "Meet the Press. Why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime? I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who had called themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies.
For what it's worth, I think David Gregory knew the answer to that question that he was asking you, but I wonder if you think the Pulitzer Board was sending a message with this public service award to people who may actually wonder why you weren't charged with a crime.
Were they trying to make a statement by presenting this Public Service Award? I think it made a statement. Whether that was their intent or not, I don't know. I assume it was. That people on the committee are long-time journalists and presumably interested in basic press freedoms.
And, Brian, to me, this is one of the most important things that I think has happened in the story is, it wasn't just David Gregory, it was a series. And it escalated recently on not just people like Peter King, but Mike Rogers and James Clapper and Keith Alexander, allied governments in Canada, explicitly calling me personally and my colleagues criminals for reporting on the story, and they wanted to create this climate where there was a serious possibility that those of us who re doing the reporting could be criminally prosecuted.
I think one of the reasons why I was willing to come back to the United States when I did because I knew that the Polk Awards as well the Pulitzers were this week and it would make them very difficult to follow through on those threats.
But that climate of fear was deliberately cultivated at the highest levels of the U. Let me ask you about coming back to the U. When we spoke on this program before, you came to us from Brazil where you spent most of your time.
You hadn't come to the United States since the Snowden stories began to be published. Tell me about the decision making process. It sounds like the awards were part of it. But did you also seek out assurances from the U. I mean, I had lawyers working for several months, including many who have -- or at least some who have connections at the highest levels of the Justice Department trying to get some indication about what the government's intentions were if I tried to return. And they were given no information, they were completely stonewalled, the government wouldn't say if there was a jury impaneled, if there was indictment under seal, if they intended to arrest us, they wanted to keep us in the state of uncertainty.
And when you combine that with al the threat that I just referenced, there clearly was some risk of coming back. At the same time, we felt on principle that I was no longer going to be -- well, I was no longer willing to be kept in a single country and kept out of my own country based on these sort of implicit threats and bullying techniques, and if they really wanted to do something, I wanted to force the issue and make them do it.
Your critics might say you trumped up this possible threat. Did you really feel you were concerned about coming back, that they could actually, for example, stop you at customs and interrogate you or even arrest you? Of course that's true, but I'm sure Ellen has loads of exes including that wack job.
Hedison is an actress who appeared on The L Word, and is also a photographer. The couple has been dating for just about a year. I suspect Bryan Singer's legal troubles will go on for some time. This week, we have updates from both sides. When we last heard from plaintiff Michael Egan, not only had he allegedly been sexually assaulted as a teenager by Singer, but he claims other men were involved. Egan's lawyer, Jeff Herman, filed three additional lawsuits against individuals who he says were involved in a "Hollywood sex ring.
As for Singer, he's dropped out of the press junket for his upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Singer said he has withdrawn from publicity events to not divert attention from the projects: In a bit of intriguing timing, three of the sexual-assault suits against Kevin Clash formerly the puppeteer of Elmo have been dismissed. There are two points about this story worth noting.
Also, the cases against Clash were dismissed because the statute of limitations expired. The initial suit against Clash, filed by Sheldon Stephens, is still active.
My hunch is it might move slowly since Stephens was just sentenced to three months in prison for stealing pension checks. However, sometimes fans are too vociferous.
Take, for instance, the person at a preview performance who screamed, "I love you Neil!!! Pamela Anderson was recently seen walking down the streets of WeHo with two dashing young men.
Would you believe it if I told you they were the buxom blonde's sons? I remember when they weren't old enough to watch their mom's sex tape! Brandon and Dylan are now 17 and 16, respectively, and are maturing quite nicely.
You can check them out on BillyMasters. Our "Ask Billy" question is also about sex on tape. Jasper in Alabama writes, "I just saw Nymphomaniac. Call me crazy, but I swear Shia LaBeouf was naked and really having sex. Crazy in Alabama dared me to do something. I'm a bit unsure of what because I'm almost giddy that I get to refer to someone as Crazy in Alabama! For the record, I have not seen Nymphomaniac, nor have I seen Nymphomaniac 2.
I suspect I could pick up the plot without too much difficulty, but I'm a stickler for chronology. According to my research, the sex scenes were painstakingly choreographed and done very slowly. Then the actors left and the sex stunt doubles came in and picked up where they left off.
But how many of the dicks bobbing around belong to anyone we care about? I say that assuming anyone cares about Shia LaBeouf. That was the very question asked of LaBeouf at a press conference. Shia calmly stood up and slowly said, "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much. Who the fuck knows?