Catherine Herridge Blasts CBS, Reveals Shocking Details of Firing and Seized Files

Catherine Herridge, as we reported previously, was to testify before the House Judiciary Committee regarding her dismissal from CBS, their seizure of her files, and what she worked on.

She testified on Thursday and noted how the Press Act protects investigative journalists like her, allowing them to perform their duties without government interference.

Herridge said that being in contempt for refusing to give up her sources put her in financial and legal danger, and she faces “crippling penalties of up $800 per day.” She seemed to be more worried about the possibility of a slippery slope than she was herself. She said that given the nature of our nation and our press rights, this shouldn’t be happening. She expressed her hope that she would be the last journalist to have to endure what she has had to do for the past two years, fighting to protect sources.

Herridge stated that this could have a “crippling impact on investigative journalism.”

Herridge said, “I fear that investigative journalism will die if we don’t use confidential sources.”

Herridge said that her experience “gave [her] clarity.” She went on to describe what happened when she was terminated. CBS News locked me out and confiscated hundreds of pages from my reporting files including confidential sources.

She claimed that “multiple” sources told her they could be exposed if she worked with them to expose “government corruption”. She pushed back, and with the help of SAG-AFTRA, the records were returned. Herridge stated that CBS’s actions “crossed the red line,” and “should never be done again.”

Herridge noted that Fox has supported her in her legal battle, and she emphasized how rare it is to receive support from a former employer.

Jim Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee (R-OH), asked Herridge and Sharyl Atkisson questions about their experiences when investigating government.

Jordan asked Herridge how she investigated the Biden Team. He told Herridge that she had reported on the Hunter Biden laptop, among other things. She said she “reported facts.”

Then he asked her why she was terminated. She is a journalist who has won many awards. She pointed out that she had been locked out not only of her office but also of her email. She admitted that this was not the norm.

She said, “When Walter Cronkite’s network seizes your files of reporting including confidential sources information, this is an attack on investigative journalists.” She claimed that she felt “raped” when her files were taken.

Jordan commented on how frightening it is that this happened when Herridge and Atkisson worked on stories critical of the government. Jordan stated that if retaliation was allowed, whether by the government, or media organizations, then journalism would also be dead.

Herridge told the story of the conversation she had with her son when Harriet Hageman, R-WY, asked a question.

I told you about my son. I would like to finish the story. He said to her at the end of their conversation, “Mom, you’ll do whatever it takes.” I’ve got you back, and I thought that if a teenager understood how important this pledge was for every journalist, Congress could pass the PRESS Act to codify these assurances and prevent future cases like mine.

She explained that the fines can make journalists give up their sources. This is especially true for independent and smaller media outlets that can’t handle them.

Herridge said,

Congresswoman, ask yourself: How many journalists could withstand fines of up to $800 per day in my case? My case is on hold pending an appeal. In the other case, you mentioned, it was $5,000 per day. These fines were designed to force you to reveal your sources. The fines are to be burned. In a market where independent journalism is exploding and there are smaller outfits and smaller publications, these fines will not be able to withstand. They can’t mount a vigorous and costly legal defense of the First Amendment. This is why, in my opinion, this is a dangerous moment and the PRESS Act is the best way to codify these protections and send a strong message – a bipartisan one if you will – about the importance and freedom of the media.

Hageman called it a sign of “a tyrannical regime.”

Rep. Becca Balint, D-VT, downplayed the situation of the journalists by referring to it as “employment disputes,” “personal grievances,” and “conspiracy theories.”

Herridge was terminated. Her files were taken in an unusual and unjustified move, while she worked on Biden articles. These are facts. This is not a conspiracy. We don’t yet know the reason.

Thank God for journalists such as Herridge who are willing and able to sacrifice so much to defend the principles that we all should hold dear. In her testimony, you could tell how dedicated she was to her work. We don’t have many people like her in the media.