CBS: Don't Legitimize Discredited Fringe Groups

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UPDATE 2/10/12: CBS has pulled Sharyl Attkisson from the CPAC award event. Congratulations and thanks for taking action!

Despite having recently "confirmed and reconfirmed" her attendance to accept AIM's award and deliver remarks, CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson did not attend CPAC yesterday. This apparent and sudden change in plans comes after criticism from media ethicists and more than 11,000 of you taking action.

Unfortunately, a CBS representative did show up to receive the award, but did not deliver the 8-10 minute speech Attkisson was reportedly scheduled to deliver. Ultimately, CBS' handling of this matter is a reminder of just how much work we have left to do.

Great work all! Your participation matters.

UPDATE 2/8/12: A former CBS News Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, veteran journalists, and media ethicists are now criticizing CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson for attending CPAC to accept an award from a discredited, partisan entity like AIM. You can review their criticisms here, but don't forget to sign the letter first.


CPAC starts this week, so we'll need to act fast.

Stay Active:

  1. Tweet @CBSNews asking them to reconsider decision to legitimize this fringe right-wing group.
  2. Spread the word about this action.
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To learn more about AIM and its background, click here.

To learn more about Sharyl Attkisson’s trouble with accurately reporting on the topics of clean energy and vaccines (and perhaps gain additional insight as to why AIM is recognizing her work in the first place), click herehere, and here.

To: David Rhodes (President, CBS News) and Christopher Isham (Washington Bureau Chief, CBS News):

Accuracy In Media (AIM) recently announced Sharyl Attkisson, a CBS News journalist, as a recipient of its annual award. Yesterday, it was confirmed that Attkisson will accept the award in person at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

AIM is a widely discredited fringe organization. AIM’s record includes:

  • Following a string of gay teen suicides, AIM attacked anti-bullying efforts, arguing that it was straight kids who were actually the victims of gay bullies citing “lesbian gangs assaulting innocent girls;” AIM was also a staunch defender of Uganda’s ‘Kill The Gays’ legislation.
  • AIM is a birther organization and feeds the right-wing lie that President Obama was not born in the United States.
  • AIM also peddles climate science misinformation claiming that global warming is a “fraud” and even challenging the scientific fact that carbon dioxide is a “planet-heating pollutant.”

Indeed, CBS News can’t control what another organization does or who it names as recipients of its awards, let alone a fringe group. But, CBS’ decision to receive this award in person is troubling.

By showing up to accept the award and deliver a speech, CBS News lends credence to an otherwise disreputable fringe group and helps pave the way for wider acceptance of AIM when just the opposite should be the case. Of note, CBS’ Attkisson will be the first reporter from a mainstream network to receive the award. Past recipients include Andrew Breitbart, Michelle Malkin and other disreputable right-wing noisemakers.

When initially asked about this, CBS glossed over AIM’s despicable record. I urge you to review additional information about AIM in light of CBS’ decision to treat this fringe group seriously and reconsider.

Sincerely, 

[Your Name]

11,799 signatures