Or their innovative technology:
Recently, I found myself thrust in the middle of a kerfuffle when CBS ordered its subsidiary CNET to remove a product from consideration for a “Best of CES” award at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. I can never recall any major media company, much less a top-tier First Amendment protector like CBS, publicly mandating an editorial decision based on business interests. The bizarre aggressiveness of CBS executives against the Hopper Sling disturbed me as it not only tainted the CES awards, but it hurt one of the world’s classiest media companies.
The controversy started when Dish introduced the Hopper, a product that allows Dish subscribers to skip through TV commercials under certain conditions. CBS and other networks sued Dish to stop the sale of the Hopper, despite a landmark 1984 Supreme Court decision that innovative products like the Hopper cannot be blocked by copyright owners if the product has many uses. Broadcasters never even challenged the legality of the TiVo personal video recorder back in 1999, which allows easy commercial fast-forwarding.
While the CBS legal challenge to the Hopper case chugs along, Dish used the 2013 International CES, to introduce the Hopper Sling, which allows Dish subscribers to stream one channel over the Internet while another is playing on the home TV. As owners of CES, we had an agreement with CNET to cover the show and recognize the best products. The CNET editorial team identified the Hopper Sling as one of the most innovative products of the show, but CBS brass ordered the CNET editors to remove it from CNET’s website.
For a top media company to impose editorial control so publicly for business reasons created a firestorm, resulting in stories in USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and several tech blogs. CBS’ actions are puzzling, and troubling, on many levels.
One CNET reporter has already resigned over this, and there may be more on the way. While this is business and not politics, it should serve as a reminder to us all that the MSM is willing to bend or even alter the news to meet its goals. CBS’ “classy reputation” was already tarnished by Rathergate, and NBC News’ president has resigned “under controversy.” (1) And the major media reporting on so-called man-made climate change has been nothing short of disgraceful, agenda journalism at its worst.
Thanks to the space the Internet provides alternative voices, the “gatekeeper of what’s news” function of the MSM is dying, though they still need to be watched like a hawk. As Democratic pollster Pat Caddell recently said, the media has become an “enemy of democracy.” (2)
(1) For a devastating and nauseating example of NBC’s (and other MSM) dishonesty, have a look through my blog-buddy’s Sister Toldjah’s Trayvon Martin archive, about the persecution of George Zimmerman. She moved mountains exposing their perfidy.
(2) With exceptions for certain individual reporters. But the overall MSM “culture” stinks with corruption.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)