Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner’s release from Russian custody on Thursday was one of the biggest political stories of 2022, with media outlets racing to post the breaking news.

CBS News first broke the story, but according to a report in The Washington Post, the news organization actually learned about Griner’s release a week earlier, on Dec. 1.

In a remarkable feat of journalistic restraint, CBS sat on the story for one week, at the White House’s request. The network had already confirmed the story through five separate sources, but the White House requested the story be held for fear of upsetting the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Russia.

CBS’s chief foreign correspondent, Margaret Brennan, noted on air Thursday that the White House “asked us not to make it public because officials expressed grave concern about the fragility of the emerging deal and feared it would impede the safety — perhaps even put those Americans at risk.”

A CBS official told the Post the network “would have felt comfortable” breaking the story a week earlier, but the additional delay allowed reporters to do more investigative work that improved the final story.

According to the Post, another, unnamed news outlet also got a tip on the story several days in advance but agreed to hold off on reporting the news.

Griner’s exchange for a notorious Russian arms dealer is still generating tremendous buzz in traditional media as well as social media. Curiously, however, FS1’s Undisputed completely ignored the story Thursday.

[The Washington Post]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.