Dear Erik Wemple, Washington Post:
I’d like to remind you of this, written by you on May 29th. Or at least, I assume it was written by you. At the very least, it appeared beneath your byline. “Sharyl Attkisson and her ‘compromised’ computers”:
At the tail end of a recent radio interview, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson appeared to realize that she’d gone a bit too far. She had been chatting with radio host Chris Stigall of Philadelphia-based WPHT 1210 AM on a salacious array of topics. Just before the interview concluded, Attkisson, sounding a bit harried, told Stigall:
Let me just—since, you know, you caught me by surprise asking me about the computer thing, and I just want to say because I am not prepared to say more today that while there has been an intrusion in my computer systems, I’m just not—I’m trying not to say too much or make very specific accusations about what’s at the bottom of it right now because I’m meticulously gathering the information, so I’m trying to be very careful and patient and methodical about this.
Too late for “careful” and “patient” and “methodical.” After all, the reporter had spent a good portion of the 20-minute interview being careless, impatient and immethodical.
How so? At the start of the interview, Attkisson and Stigall were discussing the Justice Department’s snooping into the actions of journalists. Stigall asked her, point-blank: “Do you know if your phone was tapped or your e-mails watched or seized while you were having conversations with unnamed sources on Benghazi, Sharyl?”
Well, um, I’m not ready to fully speak publicly about some things that have affected me because I’m trying to be methodical and careful about what I say, but there has been an issue in my house and there’s been an issue with my computers that’s gone on for quite a long time that we’re looking into.
Upshot: Something’s wrong with my computers.
In the next round, Attkisson started amplifying the story. Stigall posed this question: “And do you think it’s related to what James Rosen is going through at Fox News right now, apparently?” Attkisson:
Well, I don’t know details of his … I only know what I’ve read but I think there could be some relationship between these types of things and what’s happened to me.
Upshot: THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE SPYING ON ME!
More amplification came in the next round, as Attkisson responded to a question about why her communications might be of interest to the government. She said:
Well, I have been, as I said, pursuing an issue for a long time now — much longer than you’ve been hearing about this in the news — with some compromising of my computer systems in my house — my personal computer systems as well as my work computer systems. So, we’re digging into that and just not ready to say much more right now, but I am concerned.
Upshot: They’re following me everywhere.
I’ll spare you the rest and just presume that you’re hip to Wemple’s hook, meant — as were the sneer quotes in the title of the post — to present Atkkisson as a kind of paranoid kook, she being one of the last of the real reporters who keeps doggedly insisting on following stories where they take her and not simply where they are supposed to go in order to maintain a narrative that benefits progressive activism, the ends for the progressives justifying the means, and if character assassination by way of sneering dismissal and innuendo helps the cause, well, than Erik Wemple will play the role of good little toady and sneer on cue. Like a trained seal, albeit without the big balls.
Here’s the problem, though, for Mr Wemple. The crow pie was served today, and though Erik decided it was in his interest to report on that pie, he never in the course of his post partook of the big fat slice that, had we any integrity left as a society, we’d insist should be forcibly jammed into maw.
CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson revealed in May that her computer had been compromised. When asked about the situation, CBS News responded with a statement that it was conducting an investigation.
That investigation has reached the following conclusions, according to CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair:
“A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012. Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.
This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion.
CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”
The Attkisson-computer story surfaced when Attkisson appeared on a Philadelphia radio program amid the news about the Justice Department’s snooping on reporters. WPHT 1210 host Chris Stigall asked Attkisson whether she’d been the victim of any such tactics. She responded, “Well, um, I’m not ready to fully speak publicly about some things that have affected me because I’m trying to be methodical and careful about what I say, but there has been an issue in my house and there’s been an issue with my computers that’s gone on for quite a long time that we’re looking into.”
The CBS News reporter was then asked whether her issue related to the experience of Fox News reporter James Rosen, who’d been the target of Justice Department snooping. She responded: “Well, I don’t know details of his — I only know what I’ve read but I think there could be some relationship between these types of things and what’s happened to me.”
— For which responses Mr Wemple tried to humiliate, diminish, and dismiss the paranoid crank who was one of the few reporters who followed up on both Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Because that’s just not done — not to an historic lightbringer and his cast of 60s Utopian leftist retreads.
Upshot: Mr Wemple today looks like a giant, cowardly asshole. Who frankly is probably bummed that no one bothered to “compromise” his computer.
And why would they? He’s already in the bag for them.
Which, I bet that’s gotta sting, once you put the pieces together, eh, Erik?