CBS sparks outrage over firing of Catherine Herridge, 'lone voice' at network probing Hunter Biden laptop

Viewers and journalists alike slammed CBS News over this week’s firing of Catherine Herridge — an award-winning senior correspondent who sources said had run into “internal roadblocks” at the network as she covered the Hunter Biden laptop story.

The veteran investigative reporter, who has a First Amendment case that’s being closely watched by journalists nationwide, was among 20 CBS News staffers who lost their jobs Tuesday as part of a broader purge of 800 employees across parent company Paramount Global, sources told The Post.

Inside the halls of CBS News, staffers were outraged and bewildered by Herridge’s ouster, according to sources close to the Tiffany Network.

“People can’t make sense of this decision,” said a source, noting that staffers inside the network’s Washington bureau where Herridge worked are “shocked and dismayed” that CBS would oust a journalist who “brought credibility” to the company.

Herridge came to CBS in 2019 to be a balanced voice, covering both sides of the aisle, after having served as chief intelligence correspondent for Fox News.

But Herridge’s most recent assigment — covering the Hunter Biden probe — put her under a microscope at the left-leaning network, The Post has learned.

It was well understood on Capitol Hill that Herridge was among the first to receive tips about the Hunter Biden investigation but she ran into “internal roadblocks at CBS News,” sources said.

In 2021, CBS News brought in Matt Mosk to lead the network’s investigative unit from ABC News where he led coverage on the Mueller investigation and Trump impeachments. Mosk also served as senior investigative producer on the 2021 Hulu documentary “Out of the Shadows: The Man Behind the Steele Dossier.”

The Steele Dossier, which has been debunked, accused former President Donald Trump’s campaign of conspiring with Russians to tilt the result of the 2016 election.

Insiders said Herridge also clashed with CBS News President Ingrid-Ciprian Matthews, a sharp-elbowed executive who was investigated in 2021 over favoritism and discriminatory hiring and management practices, as previously reported by The Post.

CBS News declined to comment.

Author and journalist Michael Shellenberger, an expert on censorship and free speech, called Herridge a “hero” on X, saying she lately has been “facing financial ruin and even prison for protecting her sources.”

“CBS execs have behaved cowardly,” Shellenberger wrote. “Shame on them.”

Meghan McCain, daughter of late Arizona senator John McCain, also weighed in, calling Herridge a “national treasure.”

“I cant tell you what an insane move it is for @CBSNews to let her go particularly during an election year,” McCain wrote.

Others speculated that her exit was linked to recent reporting that President Biden may have kept evidence that he had foreign business dealings while in office.

Collin Rugg, who co-owns conservative website Trending Politics, posted on X: “Herridge was fired just hours after she reported on how Biden may have ‘retained sensitive documents related to specific countries involving his familys foreign business dealings’… Wild.”

In 2022, CBS News co-president Neeraj Khemlani signaled that the network was looking to bring in more Republican voices ahead of the midterm elections that year.

“Being able to make sure that we are getting access to both sides of the aisle is a priority because we know the Republicans are going to take over, most likely, in the midterms, Khemlani told staff at the time, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post. A lot of the people that were bringing in are helping us in terms of access to that side of the equation.

While the shift ruffled feathers among some of the left-leaning rank and file, insiders at CBS News said that mandate came from top brass, including Shari Redstone, the chair of Paramount Global.

Herridges departure comes as the journalist faces heat for not complying with US District Judge Christopher Coopers order to reveal how she learned about a federal probe into a Chinese American scientist who operated a graduate program in Virginia.

Critics ripped CBS for ousting Herridge when she is fighting for the rights of journalists, with one CBS News insider calling the network’s decision “tone deaf.”

Herridge may soon be held in contempt of court for not divulging her source for an investigative piece she penned in 2017 when she worked for Fox News and be ordered to personally pay fines that could total as much as $5,000 a day.

A source close to the situation said Fox News is paying for Herridges legal counsel.

Herridge “brought balance to the reporting and is facing possible jailing over her refusal to disclose her sources,” Jonathan Turley, Shapiro chair of public interest law at George Washington University, posted on X. “CBS should be standing with her and the journalistic values that she is fighting to protect.”

The scientist, Yanping Chen, had been investigated for years on suspicions she may have lied on immigration forms related to work on a Chinese astronaut program, according to Herridges report.

Chen is suing the FBI for damages claiming the leaked information was par of a campaign to damage her reputation. Federal prosecutors ended their six-year probe of Chen without bringing charges.