by Mike Masnick
Thu, Feb 28th 2013 4:06pm
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 31st 2013 1:55pm
from the ouch dept
You see, CNET's "Best in Show" award wasn't just for CNET itself, but for the official CES show. Part of CNET's deal with CEA was that its picks for "Best of CES" were the official awards for CES. Until now. CEA boss Gary Shapiro first slammed CBS in an editorial, and then CEA followed that up by officially ending CNET's position as the official picker of the "Best in Show" for CES. In trying to save face, someone from CBS told The Verge (in the link above) that it "had already determined it would not attempt to partner with CES for the awards again." Yeah, sure.
Oh yeah. CES also has now officially named the Dish Hopper with Sling as "Best of Show" saying it's now the "co-winner" with the Razer Edge gaming tablet that CNET chose after CBS suits stepped in and decimated their editorial independence.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 25th 2013 1:26pm
from the uh,-yeah dept
Note this recent article about the updated Aereo app. While it kicks off by saying that Aereo "just became a much more potent alternative to traditional cable TV" stuck right smack in the middle of the article is a big "disclosure":
Disclosure: CBS, the parent corporation of CNET, is currently in active litigation with Aereo as to the legality of its service. As a result of that conflict of interest, CNET cannot review that service going forward.In other words, "HEY EVERY BODY, YOU CAN'T TRUST US TO REPORT FAIRLY ON THIS BECAUSE OUR CORPORATE OVERLORDS INTERFERE WITH EDITORIAL!" The whole thing is a joke. As Rob Pegoraro correctly noted, CNET's claims that "news" reporting won't be impacted because these bans just apply to "reviews" is simply wrong, wrong, wrong.
Indeed. All that disclaimer does is remind people that CNET's coverage of any such topic is not to be trusted at all.
To say that there’s “actual news” and then reviews devoid of news value shows a basic misunderstanding of how journalism works.
Hard-news stories (like search-engine results!) are never entirely objective; people made value judgments in assigning them, choosing sources to quote, and giving those pieces their spot on the page or in the paper. Reviews are never entirely subjective and ought to cite objective defects such as slow performance, poor battery life, privacy risks or missing features.
And in the evolving and sometimes fumbling tech industry, assessing the hardware, software and services it serves up is an especially important part of the work of journalism. We need to suffer through these products ourselves–unless you’d prefer that we waited to see you find their problems, then reported the controversy.
Readers, in turn, don’t view news and reviews as distinct entities. If they start seeing one part of a site’s work subject to a corporate overlord’s remote control, they will read everything there skeptically. If they stick around at all.
Update: And... things are apparently going downhill. According to reports and internal notes, reporters at CNET are pissed off and morale is falling. There was a meeting where some believed CBS was going to go back on its position, but the company did not. Reporters have been pushing back, but to no avail. The Romenesko link here includes an email from CNET reporter Declan McCullagh ticking off example after example of publications associated with other companies suing Aereo giving perfectly normal reviews of the product:
This has the makings of quite the business school and journalism school case study...
The Wall Street Journal’s Katie Boehret (who reviews products along with Walt Mossberg, as I’m sure you know) reviewed Aereo three months after the litigation began. Boehret concluded: “It has a thoughtful, clean user interface that works well on the iPad, where I tested it most.. If you’re a fan of TV and want a better way to watch it on the go, Aereo is a pleasure.” The WSJ is owned by News Corp., which is in active litigation with Aereo.
ABCNews.com published a review of Aereo this month. It said: “I’ve been trying out Aereo since September to record and watch all sorts of programs on Aereo — both highbrow shows such as ‘Downton Abbey’ and guilty-pleasure ones such as ‘Revenge…’ It makes cutting cable service tempting.” ABC News is owned by Walt Disney, which is in active litigation with Aereo.
The Chicago Tribune published a syndicated review of streaming services including Aereo, which said “the most exciting development might be a scrappy start-up called Aereo that lets you watch TV on any Web-connected device with a screen via a network of miniaturized antennas.” The newspaper is owned by the Tribune Company, which is in active litigation with Aereo.
It’s true that CBS has the right to set the editorial policies that CNET journalists must abide by. And it’s also true that this policy is prominently disclosed to our readers. But I’m not aware of other media companies that have enacted a similar policy.
by Tim Cushing
Wed, Jan 23rd 2013 4:29pm
from the CBS-asks-for-more-bullets;-notes-other-foot-'only-lightly-damaged' dept
The Consumerist reports that Dish is taking a well-deserved swing at CBS, this time on its own website where its touts the Hopper being named Best in Show, along with a very noticeable asterisk.
The wording after the asterisk reads:
*What’s an asterisk doing in our award? CBS will go to any lengths to keep you from enjoying ad-skipping technology – even censoring its own writers and throwing out their decision to name Hopper ‘Best In Show.’ Your vote is the only one that really matters.Dish is also doing its part to keep print journalism alive, taking out full page ads in several newspapers.
So, what did CBS gain from freezing its legal foe out of an award? Absolutely nothing.
The broadcaster was reportedly worried that having one of its subsidiaries give an award to a Hopper DVR would possibly hurt its case in court. However, now that it’s been revealed that the device did indeed win the award — even if will never receive the actual accolade — it has only turned into a public relations boost to Dish and the Hopper.If people weren't already aware of the product, they certainly are now. And for many of those, technology that time-shifts AND skips ads is right up their alley. In addition, more people are publicly aware of the legal battle, which seems to boil down to the networks' insistence that customers watch every ad. Bad news all around, and CBS needs look no further than the still-smoking gun in its hand to explain all the brand-new holes in its foot.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 14th 2013 10:36am
from the editorial-independence dept
Now it appears that Sandoval has made his decision, announcing that he's resigned from CNET due to this situation:
Hello all. Sad to report that I've resigned from CNET. I no longer have confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence.— Greg Sandoval (@sandoCNET) January 14, 2013
CNET wasn't honest about what occurred regarding Dish is unacceptable to me. We are supposed to be truth tellers.— Greg Sandoval (@sandoCNET) January 14, 2013
The Verge has now learned that the facts of the case are somewhat different than the story CNET and CBS had previously shared with the public. According to sources familiar with the matter, the Hopper was not simply an entrant in the Best of CES awards for the site: it was actually chosen as the winner of the "Best of Show" award (as voted by CNET's editorial staff).The Verge report also notes that CNET/CBS Interactive folks fought hard against the decision from the top folks at CBS, but in the end were told they had no choice. While it's not too surprising that folks from the old gatekeeper system, like Moonves, would be so clueless as to think that such a move would not massively backfire, it's still stunning to see that he never appeared to think through the consequences.
Apparently, executives at CBS learned that the Hopper would win "Best of Show" prior to the announcement. Before the winner was unveiled, CBS Interactive News senior-vice president and General Manager Mark Larkin informed CNET's staff that the Hopper could not take the top award. The Hopper would have to be removed from consideration, and the editorial team had to re-vote and pick a new winner from the remaining choices. Sources say that Larkin was distraught while delivering the news — at one point in tears — as he told the team that he had fought CBS executives who had made the decision.
Apparently the move to strike the Hopper from the awards was passed down directly to Larkin from the office of CBS CEO, Leslie Moonves. Moonves has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Hopper, telling investors at one point, "Hopper cannot exist... if Hopper exists, we will not be in business with (Dish)."
Kudos to Sandoval for standing up for his principles. As a top reporter in the space, I have no doubt he'll land on his feet -- hopefully at a publication with more credibility. Let's see if other CNET reporters follow suit.