Veteran CNN Investigative Journalist Drew Griffin Dies At 60 After Battle With Cancer!
Drew Griffin, CNN’s Senior Investigative Correspondent who won numerous awards and was renowned for engaging even the most reluctant interviewees in a story, passed away on Saturday after a protracted battle with cancer, according to his family. He was 60.
Drew Griffin, a talented storyteller, has a well-deserved reputation for holding influential figures and organizations accountable.
Chris Licht, the CEO of CNN, told employees that Drew’s passing was “a heartbreaking loss to CNN and our whole profession.” The work of Drew, a highly respected investigative journalist, “embodied the objective of this organization in every manner” and “had great influence.”
For almost two decades, Drew Griffin contributed to several articles and documentaries while working for CNN’s investigative unit. Some of the most prestigious journalism honors, including the Emmys, Peabodys, and Murrows, had recognized his reporting.
But Drew valued people more than awards, Licht remarked.
Coworkers said that Griffin had a remarkable work ethic. Most of his coworkers were unaware of his sickness, and he continued to report until the day of his death.
In a note to the investigation team on Sunday, Michael Bass, CNN’s Executive Vice President of Programming, also expressed his appreciation for Griffin.
Bass remarked that the author was “fearless and artistic simultaneously. He knew how to push a story ahead to its boundaries while also telling it in a way that would make it understandable to everyone.” “How many times has he pursued a subject who refused to be interviewed? How many times has he challenged authorities? How many times has he changed something significant? Being his coworker and seeing his work influence the world profoundly was an honor.
Griffin’s reporting had a substantial effect and brought about change.
He oversaw an inquiry that lasted a whole year and revealed delays in medical care at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country that contributed to patient deaths. The VA secretary resigned due to the team’s reporting, followed by the adoption of federal law and a significant revision to how veterans’ appointments are managed.
The firm modified its background check procedure and included new safety features to its app in response to his reporting on the numerous allegations of sexual assault against Uber drivers. Following the CNN report, Uber declared it would end a rule that required those who complained of sexual assault to sign non-disclosure agreements and submit to arbitration.
Griffin collaborated with Patricia DiCarlo for almost ten years as the executive producer of CNN’s investigative team. He praised Griffin as a gifted writer who turned his work into “compelling, must-see TV tales.”
She remarked that you can always count on a beautiful story from a Drew Griffin author. His use of language made him unique.
Griffin’s sense of fairness was furthered by his persistent pursuit of the most challenging issues and his capacity to get some of the most reclusive prominent individuals to provide their side of the tale. Nevertheless, he never shied away from challenging them with probing questions.
Griffin’s sharp, Emmy-winning investigation into Trump University fraud allegations in 2016 revealed the dubious, money-draining strategies of several real estate seminars that gave rise to class action lawsuits by attendees. Griffin questioned a former Trump University instructor about his role in the scam, which involved not teaching real estate ideas but rather enticing participants into paying for additional seminars. “We were bringing in the money,” the instructor responded when Griffin pressed him about it.
Friday night, Parkland, FL. pic.twitter.com/2GprXjhmfF
— Drew Griffin (@DrewGriffinCNN) February 17, 2018
Griffin took on MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the most prominent figures in spreading false information, to disprove the rumors of widespread electoral fraud while election denialism continued. Griffin met with Lindell for a protracted discussion to assess the evidence after studying it. Ultimately, Griffin revealed the truth: Lindell had “proof of nothing.”
However, there were instances when Griffin, like other reporters, could not convince his subjects to speak immediately away, leading to unforgettable on-camera encounters, particularly with government officials.
Griffin challenged the responsible authorities for answers after discovering the widespread fraud in California’s state-run drug rehabilitation program in 2013. He located the director of California’s health and human services agency, who attempted to avoid Griffin’s queries by rushing to a locked bathroom. Griffin’s study led to a legislative investigation and a public apology from the program’s director.
More recently, Griffin’s corpus of work exposed the hazards of election deniers in the wake of January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and was cited in court documents by the Department of Justice and House select committee looking into the uprising.
Griffin’s work focused primarily on investigative journalism but frequently covered breaking news, such as deadly hurricanes or large-scale killings. One of his more notable on-air incidents occurred in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey, when he pulled a man from a sinking pickup truck.
On camera, Griffin’s self-assurance, tenacity, and perseverance spoke for themselves, but behind the scenes, his graciousness and compassion made him who he was. Few in the audience knew that Griffin frequently wrote handwritten thank-you notes by hand to the people featured in a story following those harrowing interviews. Griffin was incredibly private, but he also took great care to finish the big stories—some of which took him around the world—so he could return home and see his family.
Colleagues recalled the seasoned journalist as a kind, model employee who took the time to train younger journalists, cared profoundly about his colleagues, and was always willing to help.
Working with Griffin was like “winning the career lottery,” according to DiCarlo.
Regarding the group of producers that closely collaborated with Griffin on his projects, DiCarlo remarked, “There are just so many people who worked with him and loved him – this is a tragic loss.” Nobody else could compare to him. Team Drew was our name.
Griffin, a native of Chicago, started as a reporter and cameraman for WICD-TV in Champaign, Illinois. He worked for TV stations in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Washington for periods. When he joined KIRO-TV in Seattle, he worked as an investigative reporter. In January 1994, he began working as a reporter and anchor for CBS 2 News in Los Angeles. During his time there, he helped establish the station’s investigative reporting team and received numerous regional honors.
Family members said he enjoyed traveling with his wife Margot, playing the trumpet, and playing golf with friends when he wasn’t looking for his next scoop. In addition, he adored his two grandkids and his three children, whose names were taken from jazz legends: daughter Ele Gast, sons Louis, and Miles Griffin.