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Sharyl Attkisson suggests left wing Media Matters paid to attack her

Former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.
Former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.CNN via Mediaite

While appearing on Sunday's edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources," former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson suggested to host Brian Stelter that the far-left wing Media Matters may have been paid to target her. She refuted claims that her reporting was biased and inaccurate, and attributed some of that to the George Soros-funded Media Matters.

"Media Matters is my understanding is a far-left blog group that holds itself out to be an independent watchdog group, and yes, they clearly targeted me at some point," she said. Attkisson told Stelter the group used to work with her to produce stories and help get her stories out.

"Well, don't they call you?" she asked Stelter. "They call journalists and they try to..."

"Right, they are always emailing things, making us try to act outraged about things," Stelter responded.

Attkisson said she was just as friendly toward Media Matters as anyone else, but things changed when she persisted that Fast and Furious and other stories critical of the administration needed to be told. Then, she said, she became a target, and suggested the group may have been paid to go after her.

"I don't know if someone paid them to do it or if they took it on their own," she told Stelter.

"Do you think that's possible that someone paid them?" Stelter asked.

"Perhaps, sure. I think that's what some of these groups do, absolutely," Attkisson said.

She also told CNN she witnessed CBS killing stories that were unfavorable to the Obama administration. She was never discouraged from doing reports critical of the Bush administration, however.

She also revealed that some managers at CBS are so "ideologically entrenched" they have a difficult time viewing stories critical of the government or the Obama administration as having any value. Stelter asked if she believes they are liberals or Democrats.

“I don’t know what their registered party is," she said. "I just know that the tendency on the part of some of these managers who have key influences has been they never mind the stories that seem to, for example — and I did plenty of them — go against the grain of the Republican Party, but they do often seem to feel defensive about, almost, personally defensive about stories that could make the government look bad. Even if it’s something as simple as a government waste story that doesn’t pinpoint anybody in particularly and it takes on both parties. It seems as though some of them were sensitive about any story that might appear as though it criticizes the government.”

Attkisson's comment would seem to validate the presence of what we call the "Democrat-media complex."

CNN said it reached out to a CBS spokeswoman, hoping the network would respond to Attkisson's assertions. CBS responded with the same statement it gave after Attkisson left in March, CNN said: "We appreciate her many contributions and we wish her well."

Media Matters also responded, denying charges the group took money to target Attkisson. The organization also claimed that Attkisson's reporting was inaccurate and "shoddy."

"Sharyl Attkisson is continuing a pattern of evidence-free speculation that started at the end of her tenure at CBS. We have never taken contributions to target her or any other reporter. Our decision to post any research on Attkisson is based only on her shoddy reporting," the group said.

Last August, Media Matters praised Al-Jazeera for biased reporting on global warming, and once said that accurately quoting a Democrat in context constitutes a smear. In March 2011, the group declared what Politico called an "all-out campaign" of "guerrilla warfare and sabotage" against Fox News, even going so far as to suggest employees of the network be investigated.

Attkisson left the network ahead of contract in March. After two decades, sources said she had grown frustrated with the network's liberal bias and a "lack of dedication to investigative reporting."