On Wednesday, CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge shared the bombshell news about acting DNI Richard Grenell’s notification to Congress of the declassified “unmasking list.” The list proved that some very high-level Obama administration officials, including then-Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, “submitted requests to the National Security Agency at any point between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017, to unmask the identity of former National Security Advisor” Michael Flynn.

Predictably, Biden campaign surrogates and staffers went into attack mode – not just against President Trump and Grenell, but Herridge, too.

Biden senior campaign advisor Symone Sanders latched on to a tweet from panicked former Obama administration official Tommy Vietor. She agreed that the real issue here was that reporters like Herridge “fall for” alleged “revenge” tactics like these from the Trump administration, which Sanders believes distracts the liberal media from focusing on bashing Trump’s handling of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak:

Joe Biden’s director of rapid response, Andrew Bates, went much, much further, claiming Herridge was a “partisan, rightwing hack” and a “regular conduit for conservative media manipulation ploys.”

Bates deleted the tweet, but the Internet is forever:

Though Bates did delete the tweet, he did not apologize for it. He also left up a retweet of a comment a Democratic strategist made agreeing with his attack on Herridge:

Bates’s attempt at intimidating and bullying a respected journalist came about a week and a half after Biden himself posted a short Twitter thread defending the freedom of the press, and talking about how bullying and intimidating the media was a sign of authoritarian tendencies:

CNN media correspondents Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy were nowhere in the immediate aftermath of the attack. This was odd. After all, both rushed to defend CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang and accuse Trump of racism and sexism after Jiang insinuated Tuesday during a press briefing that he told her to “ask China” in response to a question because she’s an Asian-American journalist.

I tagged both Stelter and Darcy in a second tweet, wondering why they were so quiet considering it was their job to report on media happenings:

Not even Herridge’s own colleagues stepped up to defend her, as media analyst Steve Krakauer, former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer, and others pointed out:

In Krakauer’s Thursday night newsletter, he wrote that CBS News reached out to him with a statement of support for Herridge – which was a full 24 hours after the attack:

Tonight I received a statement in strong support of Herridge from CBS News: “Catherine is a deeply sourced reporter who has worked the national security beat for two decades, and just last week secured one of the biggest newsmaker interviews with Attorney General William Barr, which was cited by national and international outlets. This is the kind of aggressive reporting we applaud at CBS News.”

Note how they did not criticize Bates’s tweet, nor did they call on Biden himself to condemn it.

As Krakauer also noted in his earlier tweet, Jake Tapper was the one prominent journalist who defended Herridge against Bates’s attack:

Stelter retweeted Tapper’s tweet but has not tweeted any comments about the incident himself.

Tapper’s tweet came with an asterisk, of course, just to keep up the pretense that he’s somehow fair and balanced in criticizing both sides:

Typical CNN. Gotta make sure they don’t upset their liberal fan base.

By the way, the Wednesday night “Reliable Sources” newsletter, which is composed by both Stelter and Darcy, contained no mention of the Bates tweet on Herridge. Nor did their Thursday night newsletter.

At this point, even if Herridge’s fellow reporters, Stelter, and all the rest did step forward and acknowledge the attack against her was wrong, that doesn’t negate the point that they all mostly hung her out to dry amid the attacks waged on her by the Biden campaign, in contrast with how they give Trump the third-degree in real time when he goes on his Twitter rants and interacts with the White House press corps.

This suggests that all the mainstream media’s yada yadaing for the last three-plus years about how attacks on the press are a threat to our democracy only apply when anti-Trump reporters like Jim Acosta are in the hot seat. But when a veteran reporter like Herridge faces incoming from Democrats simply because she reports information that paints Biden in an unflattering light, staunch media defenders like Stelter and Darcy will conveniently look the other way.

Which, come to think of it, is precisely how the media has treated Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. They reluctantly did their obligatory reporting and then promptly moved on because the same presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee who they want to drag over the finish line as they tried to do with Hillary Clinton in 2016 stands accused of a horrible crime against a woman.

Why, it’s almost as though there’s a pattern here…

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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