Why Is CBS Trying To Take Down Letterman Revelation Video?

from the what-good-does-it-do? dept

Last week, soon after the news broke that David Letterman had confessed, on air, to a variety of affairs with staffers, following a blackmail attempt about those affairs, Peter Kafka over at AllthingsD pointed to a YouTube video of the 10 minute revelation, noting that he expected CBS to be playing wac-a-mole in trying to force all of the clips offline. And, indeed, that's exactly what's happening. CBS has apparently been sending takedown after takedown to YouTube to get the clip offline. This is odd for a few reasons. First, CBS is actually one of the few TV networks to actually like YouTube, and use it regularly to its own advantage. Way back in 2006, the company announced that tests showed that when it put clips on YouTube, it resulted in more viewership, not less.

So why take down all these clips?

The anonymously sourced explanation in the article is just that there was a request from Letterman's production company to CBS not to put that clip online. I can see why that request was made in the first place (who wants that embarrassing clip up there...) but it still doesn't make much sense once you think about it. If Letterman didn't want that video out there, then why discuss it at all on the show? The show went out to millions of people. It's pretty silly to then pretend it doesn't exist at all. All it really does is call that much more attention to the situation. Meanwhile, the clips keep going up, and employees at both CBS and YouTube have to waste a ton of time repeatedly taking them down... And, in the end, the clips will end up on other sites anyway. If anyone wants to see the Letterman explanation, they'll see it. So why not put it up on the official CBS/Letterman feed and deal with it that way?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 4:28am

    simple answer

    they want more viewers to Letterman, thus invoking the Streisand effect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 5:41am

    I would question the validity of the statement "The show went out to millions of people". Really, does anybody believe that many people still watch this guy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 5:50am

    Re:

    In August 2009, Letterman was averaging just under 3 million viewers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    Yes, as much as it pains me to say this, I do believe that millions of people watch him. I can't understand why, but I also can't understand why millions of people are devoted to Oprah.

    I can see why they would want to pull the video. But I can also understand that it's just for show. They can't not know that there had to be thousands of people with DVRs watching it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    yes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    The reason it's the default

    It's simple. "No" is the default answer to these questions by most media companies. Even if they had previously worked out that it's in their interest to answer "yes" they will revert to the default "no" the moment there is anything out of the ordinary about the situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Comboman (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    Fair Use?

    Since the clip is newsworthy, wouldn't it qualify as fair use? Despite the fact that I haven't watched Letterman in years, I've seen plenty of excerpts from his confession on CNN and other news shows. Did they get permission from CBS to air the video?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    AJB, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    Oh life is just GRAND

    So, with Hillary thrown under the bus in 2008 (for which they backed the bus up and rolled her again and again), and with Clinton and his 'it's only sex' defenders (including his wife), and now this where the liberals are just jumping all over themselves defending this guy, we now officially pronounce the women's movement OFFICIALLY DEAD! Yes indeed. It's back to the kitchen to BAKE ME SOME PIE. We will now expect all women to tart it up in the workplace as it's now apparently correct to have sex with subordinates. And when you do, expect thousands to stand up for you and say 'it's only sex'. Didn't get that raise girl? Should have put out. Didn't get that new promotion? There's a couch in his office, right? Yes indeed, civilization has taken a big turn and Dave is leading the way. And I like CHERRY PIE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Size does matter

    CBC only had a edited version of Letterman's talk. I was able to get the full version on YouTube - the longer version is much better - makes Letterman look more human.
    At least for now it does not appear to be a case of sexual harassment or unwanted advances as none of the women have ever filed a claim or protest (for what ever reason the relationships appeared consensual).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 6:55am

    Re: Oh life is just GRAND

    At first I was like "Oh, hell, we can see where this is going", but once I read the whole way through, I have to agree with you. This sets back not just women's rights, but civilization as a whole back 70 years. Good job, America!

    (little known fact: firefox seems to want to correct "women's" into "womenfolk's". Strange. Has anyone ever even heard the term "womenfolk's"?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    spr0949, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    CBS to YouTube: We don't really want you to take it down because it draws more viewers, we're just going to make a fuss about it to make sure everyone knows about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Re: Size does matter

    More human? I got the opposite. I thought it was pretty evil to use his audience like he did. You could tell they didn't know how to react, especially how he presented the material. Come to a show that's supposed to be funny and you get front row seat to a train wreck?

    He could have said, "I have something serious to talk about for a minute, so please bear with me, blah blah blah". Instead he was half glib, half serious, and if I was in the audience I would have been searching for the nearest exit. The whole thing was just creepy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    thublihnk (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Re: Oh life is just GRAND

    Brilliant deduction my lad. Two sex scandals, a full decade apart by people whose positions are completely unrelated.

    Obviously society is crumbling at it's very foundation. Your logic is sound, and I believe everyone here would agree.
    You are a gentleman and a scholar and I can only hope that you would accept this humble offer of my sincerest honors.

    Again. Brilliant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    JohnC., Oct 5th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Dave Letterman

    Who is Dave Letterman?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re: Dave Letterman

    He's your biological father, apparently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    here is their problem they have created for themselves...

    i dont watch letterman, this wont make me watch letterman but now i know that he screws his staffers and im still not going to watch letterman.

    so had they not tried to force the videos off, i would have never heard of this thing and yet, i am still not going to watch letterman. nothing but bad came from this move from my angle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    NotFromToronto (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re: Oh life is just GRAND

    I don't see this as much of an issue from a women's movement perspective. What is harmful at this point is making the assumption that any relationship with a subordinate must be forced. We don't know anything about the actual relationships Dave had with these women, so why would you jump to the conclusion that there was an explicit malice involved?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Joe Sixpack, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Now I'll Watch Letterman

    I used to watch Letterman back in college several years ago but stopped watching (don't remember why). But now that we know he likes to get a little on the side with his co-workers, it will get people like me to watch him again. Brilliant marketing strategy. Now I need to get me some cherry pie!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Josh, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 11:01am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    AJ (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: Oh life is just GRAND

    Men in powerful positions with lots of money can, and do, use their staffers (of both sexes) for their personal gain. That's the point. Consensual? Wander down to the corner bar and pick up a troller/stroller. But don't fish off the company pier! And where are the women on this issue? To my original point, they've abandoned their movement if they don't stand up against what old Dave is doing to his staff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    The Mad Hatter (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    Arrant Stupidity Probably

    Oh, and the CBS link above won't play the Letterman bit, but it's happy to play everything else. Wonder why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    The link worked fine for me yesterday.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    hiptech (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    Legal Perceptions

    Though I am far from being a lawyer I wouldn't be at all surprised if this decision stemmed from legal arguments regarding the upcoming case.

    When Letterman outlined the scheme in a very public way he created a virtually indelible perception of his innocence. Right or wrong, this placed the accused in an unenviable position of guilt by celebrity accusation.

    In other words, a well known celebrity states very publicly (to a millions of ppl) that a specific individual has attempting to extort money from him through blackmail.

    Without giving the allegedly accused "blackmailer" a timely opportunity to refute allegations, it not only becomes virtually impossible to find an unbiased jury, but inevitably ends up as another case tried in the public media.

    Regardless of who you believe, guilty or not, due process never occurs in a vacuum. But having a persistent and ever expanding message concerning someone's viewpoint can't help but sway any argument. Granted, it may already be too late but the defense team needed to have the video taken down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This