News organizations are firing employees because of law ratings. CNN, BuzzFeed, and Vice Media have all recently announced layoffs. CBS is also firing reporters.
On Thursday (updated Friday), The New York Post reported the following:
The acclaimed CBS reporter who was investigating the Hunter Biden laptop scandal before she was fired last week had her personal files seized by the network in an “unprecedented” move, sources told The Post on Thursday.
Catherine Herridge — who is the middle of a First Amendment case being closely watched by journalists nationwide — was among 20 CBS News staffers let go as part of a larger purge of hundreds of employees at parent company Paramount Global.
Her firing had stunned co-workers, but the network’s decision to hold on to her personal materials, along with her work laptop where she may have other confidential info, has left many staffers shaken, according to insiders.
“It’s so extraordinary,” a source familiar with the situation told The Post, noting that the files — which are presumptively now the property of CBS News — most likely contain confidential material from Herridge’s stints at both Fox and CBS.
The source said the network boxed up all her personal belongings except for Herridge’s notes and files and informed her that it would decide what — if anything — would be returned to her.
“They never seize documents [when you’re let go],” a second source close to the network said.
Brit Hume posted the following on Twitter:
This is just one more step in the direction of a police state where the media is controlled by the people in power.
The article at The New York Post concludes:
Jonathan Turley — a legal scholar and a former CBS legal analyst who first broke the news of Herridge’s documents being seized in an opinion piece for The Hill — said the timing of the journalist’s termination raised suspicions.
“She was pursuing stories that were unwelcomed by the Biden White House and many Democratic powerhouses, including the Hur report on Joe Biden’s diminished mental capacity, the Biden corruption scandal and the Hunter Biden laptop,” Turley wrote.
Under normal circumstances, journalists are entitled to their notes and make available the files if needed in future ligation, but leaving sensitive documents in the hands of unnamed CBS officials, could compromise Herridge’s numerous other confidential sources.
It also potentially violates HIPAA laws, as her files may also contain personal and family medical records.
Turley said CBS’ “heavy-handed approach” to the files” is “dead wrong” and that it had “sent a chilling signal in the ranks” of the network.
SAG-AFTRA, the union which represents CBS staffers, condemned the network for seizing Herridge’s notes and research from her office.
“This action is deeply concerning concerning to the union because it sets a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment,” the union said in a statement to The Post.
The union added it has been in touch with CBS News and is hopeful the matter “will be resolved shortly.”
We are in a dangerous place.