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CBS fires journalist who covered Hunter Biden laptop story, seizes her personal files in an unprecedented move but later cries foul

The House Judiciary Committee said in a letter, “The unprecedented actions of CBS News threaten to chill good journalism and ultimately weaken our nation’s commitment to a free press."

Catherine Herridge, a veteran journalist who worked on the Hunter Biden laptop story and covered investigations into the Biden family, was fired by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) News on 13th February this year.

It has now emerged that the network seized her personal files, computers and records, including confidential source information.

The unprecedented move by CBS officials has been condemned by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which deemed the action as ‘very unusual and completely inappropriate.’

“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,’ it emphasised.

“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,” SAG-AFTRA added.

It concluded, “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.”

CBS cries foul

Following the controversy, the news network claimed that no belongings of Catherine Herridge had been seized and that it had planned to return her files.

“Catherine’s personal belongings were delivered to her home one week ago, and we are prepared to pack up the rest of her files immediately on her behalf – with her representative present as she requested,’ a spokesperson for CBS News claimed.

The official added, “We have respected her request to not go through the files, and out of our concern for confidential sources, the office she occupied has remained secure since her departure.”

Catherine Herridge authenticated Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop

According to an article by New York Post, Catherine Herridge ‘faced roadblocks’ while covering the Hunter Biden laptop story. She had authenticated the abandoned laptop of US President Joe Biden’s son in November 2022.

Prior to her firing, the veteran journalist had also covered the House impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. Catherine Herridge has previously served as the chief intelligence correspondent at Fox News.

Given her abrupt firing and seizure of personal files, the House Judiciary Committee has written to the CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews on Friday (23rd February) seeking information about the termination of Herridge’s contract.

“The unprecedented actions of CBS News threaten to chill good journalism and ultimately weaken our nation’s commitment to a free press,” it stated.

The Hunter Biden laptop story

It is notable here that in the last weeks of the 2020 US presidential elections, the New York Post published an explosive story about Hunter Biden’s problematic emails with a Ukrainian gas company executive from Burisma.

In its report, the news outlet alleged that they had accessed material from a damaged Macbook that was brought to a service centre for repair. The customer who brought the laptop never collected or paid for the services.

The shop owner said he repeatedly tried to contact the client. Though he could not identify the owner as Hunter Biden, he said the laptop had Beau Biden Foundation’s sticker.

The report has several documents and mentions a video that proves that Joe Biden met a high-profile businessman from Ukraine when he was Vice President of the United States. 

Reports suggested that Biden may have helped his son Hunter, using his influence as the VP of the United States, in his business in Ukraine. The Biden Camp categorically denied all the allegations.

The story was heavily censored by both Twitter and Facebook and was branded as a piece of fake news. Initially, the report was dismissed as a hoax by Biden-supporting media, but it was eventually confirmed that the laptop’s contents did really belong to Hunter Biden.

Following the restriction of the NYP report, Twitter justified the action by claiming that its policies forbid the sharing of compromised information. After the elections were over and Joe Biden was declared president, it became clear that the NY Post story was indeed true.

Twitter’s former head Jack Dorsey then expressed regret over censoring the story and blocking New York Post from their Twitter account.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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