After Taking Heat for Pulling Plug on CNET’s Award for Dish, CBS Steps In Again, Targets Another Product

Jan 28, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Despite being accused of censorship for preventing the tech website CNET from honoring Dish Network’s ad-skipping DVR, CBS continues to take an active role in controlling the site’s editorial decisions.

TheVerge.com reports that CBS has banned CNET from reviewing the online TV streaming service Aereo and its products, because of CBS’s lawsuit against Aereo.

The ban isn’t a surprise, given the move earlier this month in which CBS barred CNET from giving an award to Dish’s Hopper with Sling DVR product, the story notes.

As previously reported, CBS was accused of censorship after it stepped in at the last minute to prevent CNET from giving its Best of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Award to the Hopper device. CBS said the reason was its active litigation over the Hopper, which facilitates the skipping of commercials in the programs viewers record.

"CNET and its staff have been put in an extraordinarily difficult position by CBS," TheVerge.com writes. "They have to prove that what remains of their editorial independence is full and robust."

The article continues: "They have to cover news controversies involving their publication and its parent company; these controversies necessarily involve some evaluation of the value of products and competing legal claims. … It’s not clear if anyone knows how or whether this can be done."

The piece notes that the latest move has its origins in the Dish situation. TheVerge writes: “If CBS’s motivation began with keeping Dish’s DVR off its subsidiary’s stage, it still had to come up with a policy to justify that. That policy, invented and enforced largely on the spot, barred CNET from reviewing any product or service directly implicated in a CBS lawsuit, but permitted news coverage of the same. As we predicted, this tenuous distinction betwen news and reviews doesn’t simply apply to Dish and its Hopper, but also to Aereo. This is the first time we’re seeing that broader policy applied to another company.”

 

2 Comments

  1. These things as well as the banning of the SodaStream Super Bowl ad should be part of the next license renewal for CBS owned and operated stations. This level of censorship is not allowed under the FCC rules.

  2. These incidents make it obvious that the Tiffany Network is not to be trusted and any reports they do run, particularly any investigative reports, are not to be trusted.

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