CBS: Relationship with WH Not ‘Relevant’

Benghazi consulate / AP

CBS News President David Rhodes never proactively addressed the conflict of interest inherent in the connection between he and his brother, Ben Rhodes, the Senior White House adviser who finds himself in the center of the controversy over the White House talking points issued to emphasize the false narrative over the origins of the Benghazi terror attacks in 2012. Furthermore, people in management positions within CBS News argued that it was not necessary to disclose the relationship to viewers or readers "because it wasn't relevant."

These revelations were disclosed by former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, one of the most knowledgeable journalists covering the Benghazi terror attack story over the past year, who appeared Thursday morning on "Mornings on the Mall" on Washington D.C.'s WMAL.

Co-host Brian Wilson asked Attkisson if David Rhodes was responsible for spiking her Benghazi stories:

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I don't deal directly with David Rhodes on stories so, what happens with me when I'm working in Washington is I, or the Washington bureau, will push a story to New York or offer a story and the New York broadcast for Evening News is the broadcast that decides not to take it for example, Scott Pelley is the Managing Editor, Pat Shevlin is Executive Producer. All I know is, we all come to learn in Washington on a particular story of mine for example is that they don't want them. I can't really say what happens or what the reasoning is.

I probed the issue further and asked if David Rhodes was proactive in directing the staff, reporters, anchors, and producers to not let his relationship with his brother in the White House infringe on any of their efforts in pursuing any story that might involve Ben Rhodes.

That did not happen, to my knowledge. But, in a couple of stories when Ben Rhodes' name appeared or began to surface a long time ago, I argued that we needed to disclose the relationship because that's what we should to do. Not because there's any guilt or guilt by association or that we had done anything wrong, but disclosure is your friend. It protects you. And as journalists, if we disclose that off the top of a story then people won't look back later and say that we hid it. So I did argue the case and was told by a manager it was not necessary because it wasn't relevant. Which I disagreed with. In another case I wrote a story on the web and I did make the disclosure and Rhodes had no problem with it as far as I know, I didn't hear from him.

Attkisson also pointed out that lost in the discussion over Ben Rhodes and the White House's involvement in the re-writing of history in September 2012 is the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't need to wait for marching orders from the White House to spin the narrative of the terror attacks. She pushed the bogus "YouTube video" narrative on Sept. 12, the day after the murderous attacks.

September 12th, Secretary (Hillary) Clinton used the video story at the ceremonial return of the bodies, Stevens and the three other victims, and personally did not call it a terrorist attack and allegedly told the family members ‘we're going to find who made that awful video' so by September 12th, someone had already decided as Obama Administration officials used the video … prior to the September 14th email to Susan Rice, I believe there seems to have been discussions and a decision already.

Listen to the full interview here: (Exchange regarding CBS News begins at 6:00 mark.)