Did CBS just kill off CNET?

The news gathering business is full of tough calls every day, especially when there is both news and editorial content involved. There is always a very fine line to walk between what is news and what is editorial content. The public generally does not see the difference in cases like the “Best of Show” awards given by sites like ourselves and CNET. Last week we now know that CBS crossed a line that should never be crossed in journalism.

CNN is now reporting that after CNET announced its “Best of CES” candidates, the CBS corporate office “laid down a ban: CNET won’t be allowed to even review Dish products, much less give them awards.”

The page for CNET’s review of Hopper was also updated with a statement that “the Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration for the Best of CES 2013 awards due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.”

The story actually gets juicier when CNET tells their side of the story. Excerpted below is the account directly from CNET as reported by Lindsey Turrentine

Last week, about 40 members of the CNET editorial staff met in the CNET trailer in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center to vote on our official Best of CES winner. We gathered on Wednesday evening and heard from each editor covering the show what he or she liked best.

Ultimately, we chose the Dish Hopper for our Best of CES award because of innovative features that push shows recorded on DVR to iPads.
After the vote, we communicated the winners, as we always do, through normal channels. CNET immediately got down to the business of preparing for a massive stage show the following morning and preparing a press release.

Later that evening, we were alerted to the legal conflict for CBS. All night and through to morning, my managers up and down CNET and I fought for two things: To honor the original vote and — when it became clear that CBS Corporate did not accept that answer — to issue a transparent statement regarding the original vote.
Ultimately, we were told that we must use the official statement and that we must follow corporate policy to defer all press requests to corporate communications.

This is a completely untenable situation for the reporters and editors at CNET and quite possibly could mean the end of CNET as a respected news and opinion site. Respecter reporters are resigning in protest from CNET. The editor in chief for CNET reviews openly stated that maybe she should have immediately resigned. How is the public supposed to believe anything coming out of CNET anymore, or CBS for that matter. Does this mean that if they do not support a politician that they will not cover them? When it comes down to it what is the difference?

How can CBS possibly justify that? News organizations report news. Simply the fact that you are in litigation with a company MUST be reported on in an unbiased manner within your news organization and to do proper reporting you have to review the product enough to explain why you are in litigation.

These kinds of things have happened before sadly and the wall is dead between the corporate and news divisions amongst almost all of the major media players. That is why we do what we do and bring reporting that is not beholden to any corporate entities. We will never allow the money counters to interact with the news gatherers or editorial staff at SNFN.

You think this is not important? Think about it this way: AOL owns Engadget; NewsCorp owns The Wall Street Journal and its influential tech coverage; IAC invests in Aereo but owns The Daily Beast. If these corporate overlords are going to control editorial content, where will we get our news?

More on the web:

Amazon Auto-Rip… The future is here

AutoRipAmazon wants to make sure that CD buying customers are given access to their albums online and the company’s Auto Rip feature makes that happen.

Announced on Thursday the AutoRip feature allows customers to receive digital copies of new purchases for more than 50,000 albums. The program also offers AutoRip copies of CDs customers have purchased over the last 15 years, a timetable that coincides with the launch of Amazon’s Music Store and your Amazon storage limit is not affected by the company’s new program.

This is an interesting development copyright wise, as customers can now purchase a CD, give it to a friend or family member and then listen to their own MP3 copy of songs via the Amazon Cloud player.

This program depends a lot on the honesty of customers in general as a case can be made that CD’s can be bought on Amazon and returned to say Wal-Mart or gifted and you then have a free copy of the music.

It almost seems crazy when you put some thought into it. Is it great for the consumer, sure it is, but the music companies may have just made a deal that cost them a ton of money.

I am not really sure if the record companies had in mind exactly what Amazon is doing here as in some cases used cds bought on Amazon were auto-ripped for consumers. So if I buy a CD and Amazon auto-rips it to me, then I sell it back used on Amazon they then auto-rip it again for the secondary buyer theoretically there will be endless digital copies and the record companies will receive nothing from the secondary rips. This is not supposed to be happening, but there are literally dozens of reports online of this happening. Amazon marketplace sales are supposed to be not included, but if it does happen there are some issues that still need to be cleared up.

A big win for consumers.

Video:

Military judge delays Army GI's trial in WikiLeaks case to June 3 – Fox News

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Apple's Cheap iPhone Is A Great Move For The Company – Business Insider

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Kashmir shooting: India's Kurshid warns on escalation – BBC News

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