CBS News Returns ‘Several Boxes’ of Seized Reporting Materials to Catherine Herridge, Including Files on Confidential Sources Following Media Outcry

CBS reporter Catherine Herridge speaks about President Joe Biden's son Hunter.
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CBS reporter Catherine Herridge speaks about President Joe Biden's son Hunter.
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CBS News has returned ‘several boxes’ containing reporting materials to award-winning journalist Catherine Herridge following an intervention by SAG-AFTRA amidst concerns over press freedom and the protection of confidential sources.

The materials were handed back to Herridge at her CBS News office in Washington D.C., with a union representative present to monitor the process. The contents of these boxes, which include files related to confidential sources, are currently under review by Herridge.

The Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) issued the following statement.

SAG-AFTRA is pleased to confirm that earlier today a representative of our union monitored the return of several boxes containing Catherine Herridge’s reporting materials from her CBS News office in Washington D.C. Herridge is currently reviewing the materials.

We welcome CBS News’ reversal which came after SAG-AFTRA’s intervention and widespread media coverage that underscored shared concerns about press freedom and the First Amendment.

The resolution of this matter sends a strong message of protection for basic First Amendment principles. We further hope the public focus now turns to SAG-AFTRA’s continued efforts to support a Press Shield law that provides additional federal protections for journalists and their confidential sources.

The Gateway Pundit previously reported that Catherine Herridge was among the 800 employees Paramount Global laid off in a bid to streamline operations amid financial strain. Her firing has since escalated into a broader controversy.

Herridge’s colleagues are reportedly alarmed by the company’s unprecedented steps to take possession of her work materials, including sensitive information on sources promised confidentiality.

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“There is trouble brewing at Black Rock, the headquarters of CBS, after the firing of Catherine Herridge, an acclaimed investigative reporter. Many of us were shocked after Herridge was included in layoffs this month, but those concerns have increased after CBS officials took the unusual step of seizing her files, computers and records, including information on privileged sources,” Jonathan Turley wrote on The Hill.

The seizure of Herridge’s files, which span her impressive career at both CBS and previously at Fox News, has sent a “chilling signal” through the ranks, suggesting a potential crackdown on journalistic freedom and source protection.

SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement last week:

SAG-AFTRA strongly condemns CBS News’ decision to seize Catherine Herridge’s reporter notes and research from her office, including confidential source information. This action is deeply concerning to the union because it sets a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment.

It is completely inappropriate for an employer to lay off a reporter and take the very unusual step of retaining and searching the reporter’s files, inclusive of confidential source identification and information. From a First Amendment standpoint, a media corporation with a commitment to journalism calling a reporter’s research and confidential source reporting “proprietary information” is both shocking and absurd.

The retention of a media professional’s reporting materials by their former employer is a serious break with traditional practices which supports the immediate return of reporting materials. We urge CBS to return this material to Catherine in support of the most basic of First Amendment principles. We are encouraged by recent outreach by CBS News to SAG-AFTRA on this matter, and we are hopeful that it will be resolved shortly.

Source material can be found at this site.

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