Attkisson pressed to get out of her contract with CBS after they smothered her reporting on Obama scandals, from Fast and Furious to Benghazi. Months would go by with her journalism only surfacing on the CBS News website.
She has a record of playing it pretty straight and digging into the facts. We've flagged her for an occasional tilt over the years, like this one against President Bush in 2001: "Adding yet another twist to the President's dilemma, even conservative senators from his own party are urging him to support stem cell research." For a "conservative," Attkisson picked the late Arlen Specter, who had a lifetime rating of 41 percent from the American Conservative Union.
But liberals have tried to undermine her professionalism, starting with CBS colleagues who hypocritically charged her with having a "political agenda." When Attkisson appeared on MSNBC's "All In," host Chris Hayes laid out the liberal line, appropriately identifying it as "the most cynical."
"I want to lay out the most cynical interpretation of what you're doing so you can respond to it. ... You perhaps notice that there's a very active world of conservative media. It can be very lucrative. People sell a lot of books. ... People I think look at this and think, 'Oh, well, she just sort of saw the writing on the wall. She was not happy at CBS, or she was being pushed out, or she had beef with management and she thought I can make myself a big conservative hero and go out in sort of cash in on the world of conservative media.' What do you say to people who are watching this and drawing that interpretation?"
Attkisson replied, "I really don't know what to say to that, except if you want to read the book and find it interesting, you can draw your own conclusion and some people may say, 'yes, that's exactly what's happening.' And others may find it to be an honest and insightful look at some things in the media."
Hayes kept pushing the cynical-liberal line: "Are we going to see you as a Fox News contributor or writing for a conservative outlet next? I mean, can you tell me right here that that's not the way this is going?"
When Republicans stab other Republicans in the back and then become network contributors -- like "MSNBC consultant" Steve Schmidt, or ABC "The View" co-host Nicolle Wallace, both of whom ripped Sarah Palin apart in the book "Game Change" by two liberal reporters -- MSNBC has no "cynical intepretation" to offer. When racial ambulance chasers like Al Sharpton lobby for Obama so effusively on the Left that he gets a nightly show on MSNBC, where is Hayes on that opportunism?
The folks at MSNBC refuse to admit Attkisson has exposed the real cynicism inside the media, namely: Why would we look into rampant Obama administration corruption when it's "our job" to offer Obama a "successful presidency"? Chris Matthews announced that "most cynical" line on the purpose of TV journalism two days after Obama was elected president.
Sharyl Attkisson has never been a political operative. She's been a fairly objective journalist -- something that MSNBC would never understand.