WATCH: Catherine Herridge Lights Up CBS, Explains What Happened With Firing and Files Seized

As we previously reported, Catherine Herridge was going to be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about her firing from CBS, them seizing her files and what she was working on.


‘Potentially Explosive Hearing’: Catherine Herridge to Testify to Congress About Her Firing From CBS

CBS Just Got Into More Trouble Over Catherine Herridge’s Files, Now House Judiciary Wants Answers

On Thursday, she testified, noting how important the Press Act is to protect and help investigative reporters like her to do their jobs without interference from the government. 

Herridge spoke about how being held in contempt because she wouldn’t give up her sources was putting her in legal and financial jeopardy, and that she’s facing “crippling fines of up to $800 a day.” But she seemed more concerned about the slippery slope happening than herself. Given the nature of our country and our press freedoms, this should not be happening, she said. She said she hoped she was the last journalist who would have to go through what she’s had to go through for the past two years, fighting to protect her sources. 

Herridge said this can have a “crippling effect on investigative journalism.” 

“if confidential sources are not proceed, I fear investigative journalism is dead,” Herridge declared. 

Herridge explained that what happened to her “gave her clarity.” She then detailed what happened to her when she was fired. “CBS News locked me out of the building and seized hundreds of pages of my reporting files, including confidential source information.” 

She said “multiple sources” told her that working with her to expose “government corruption” could expose them. She pushed back and, with the help of SAG-AFTRA, the records were returned. Herridge said CBS “crossed a red line” with their actions that “should never be crossed again.” 

Herridge also noted she has the support of Fox in the fight in her legal case, noting how unusual it is to have the support of a former employer. 

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked questions of both Herridge and journalist Sharyl Atkisson about how they suddenly found unhappy things happened to them when they were investigating the government. 

Jordan asked Herridge about how she was investigating the Biden team. He said she reported about the Hunter Biden laptop and some other critical things. She noted she “reported the facts.” 

He then asked why she got terminated, such a great, award-winning journalist. She noted how she was not only locked out of her office, but locked out of her emails. She acknowledged this was not normal.

“When the network of Walter Cronkite seizes your reporting files including confidential source information, that is an attack on investigative journalism,” she declared. She said that when her records were seized she felt like it was a “journalistic rape.” 

Jordan said how scary this is when this happens, when both Herridge and Atkisson were working on stories critical of the government. “If retaliation is allowed,” Jordan said, either by the government or a media organization, “journalism is dead also.”  

Herridge continued the story about the conversation with her teenage son, when she was asked a question by Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY).  

I told you a story about my son. I’d like to finish it. At the end of the conversation he said, mom, you do what it takes. I’ve got your back and I thought, if a teenager understands how sacred this pledge is for every journalist, certainly Congress can pass the PRESS Act and codify these guarantees that will prevent cases like mine in the future.

She also explained how the fines imposed can force journalists to give up their sources, particularly independent or smaller outlets that can’t withstand them. 

Herridge said:

Congresswoman, just ask yourself, how many journalists can withstand fines — in my case of $800 a day? Mine is being stayed pending the appeal. In another case you cited, it was $5,000 a day. These fines are designed that you have to disclose sources. You have to burn them. And, in a marketplace where we have this explosion and independent journalism and smaller outfits, they cannot withstand these fine. They cannot mount a costly and vigorous legal defense of the First Amendment. That is why I think this is such a dangerous time and why the PRESS Act can codify these guarantees and they can happen with a very strong — in fact, the strongest bipartisan message about the importance of the freedom of the press.

Hageman termed it the sign of a “tyrannical government.”

While the Republicans took it seriously and it sounds like you have some who will be supporting the Press Act, Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) seemed to downplay what happened to the journalists as “employment disputes” and “personal grievances,” terming them as “conspiracy theories.” 

Herridge was fired. Her files were seized in a very unusual and unexplained move while she was working on Biden stories. Those are facts. That’s not conspiracy. We still don’t know why. 

But thank God for journalists like Herridge, who are willing to put so much on the line to fight for the principles we should all hold dear. You could see in her testimony how devoted she is to doing her job honestly. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough people in the media like her. 

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