America’s biggest media companies are on a roll this month.
Usually fancy new gadgets — not old-school media giants — are the focus of the Consumer Electronics Show. But this year the talk at CES was all about CBS.
On the last day of the big electronics trade show, the technology site CNET was ready to announce its best-of-show awards. The winning gadget was a new digital video recorder (DVR) made by the satellite company DISH.
However, CBS owns CNET, and CBS is in the midst of a messy legal battle with DISH. So at the last minute the DISH DVR disappeared from the awards. In fact, the Vergereported that CBS management forced CNET staff to re-vote on the best gadget award.
At the time, CNET released a statement that suggested CBS’ action reflected an ongoing company policy: “We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.”
This is one of the many problems that arise with huge media conglomerates: They often use business interests as an excuse for interfering with news content.
And sometimes the problem isn’t a company telling newsrooms what they can’t cover, but telling what they must address.