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Television The Media Hardware

CNET Parent CBS Blocks Review and Award To Dish Over Legal Dispute 138

Coldeagle writes "It looks as if CNET's parent company, CBS, has laid down the law: 'Just one day after CNet named the Dish "Hopper," a new TV recording system that's drawing rave reviews in the tech press, to an awards shortlist, the site's parent company stepped in and nixed the accolade. Because of a legal battle between CBS and Dish over the Hopper's ad-skipping technology, CBS laid down a ban: CNet won't be allowed to even review Dish products, much less give them awards.' Got to love modern day freedom of the press!"
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CNET Parent CBS Blocks Review and Award To Dish Over Legal Dispute

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  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:26PM (#42563675) Homepage Journal

    All the News we think is fit to print and in our best interests.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:27PM (#42563693)

    It's to protect your rights from the government

    CBS is a private business and has no obligation to review a product of another business

    • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:32PM (#42563743) Homepage

      Nobody mentioned the amendment. Freedom of the press is a concept that existed long before that, and it's a pretty good one. In the case of a review site, what they're really selling is their reputation.

      If your reputation is as a shill site that won't review something because some corporate types are fighting with some other corporate types, that's not good for your brand.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Freedom of the press is granted to those who OWN THE PRESS. No news here... please move along.

        • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Friday January 11, 2013 @11:13PM (#42564789) Journal

          Yes and when the news and all the media being watched by the mouth breathing public are owned by a shocking few corporations and those corporations act monolithicly to steer society in the direction they choose, to inform or misinform as they choose, to manipulate and promote public opinion in the name of what's good for the plutocracy, we have a wee problem.

          Or, perhaps this is the way its always been and a free press is an aberration or illusion. Personally I think its high time we pried the those crypt keeper fingers off of the controls steering society into ever deeper water and we just said screw the banks and screw the corporations. Its time for real free enterprise.

      • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:40PM (#42563813)

        The history of freedom of the press goes back nearly 500 years. The term has always referred to a legal concept that restricts the ability of GOVERNMENTS to interfere with publications.

        Freedom of the press is not and never has been a concept that applies to private concerns. If it did it would be a big issue because it would interfere with property rights.

        Yes perhaps CBS is hurting their reputation by not carrying these advertisements. But this has NOTHING to do with freedom of the press.

        • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @09:26PM (#42564131) Journal

          You are under no obligation to fund your detractors. This has been upheld many times:

          * Malls, AKA private property, do not have to let protesters walk around inside protesting businesses.
          * The First Amendment covers the right to say things...and not to say things.
          * Parades are, in fact, expressive events w.r.t. the First Amendment, so religious Irish don't have to let gays march in their parade.

          Even things like cigarette labeling fall under truth in advertising. When it gets too obnoxious or large, it gets slapped down again.

          • by nbauman ( 624611 )

            The issue is not funding your detractors, but publishing news about your competitor. It's self-censorship, an independent issue from government control.

            If CBS is censoring CNET, I know that CNET isn't reliable -- and neither is CBS.

            If I'm a reader, I want a magazine to give me the truth as accurately and completely as they can, not self-censor for the publisher's business reasons. If they won't do that, fuck them. I have plenty of other news sources.

            Among journalists, this has been a well-known issue for at

        • Freedom of the press is about being free to publish. If the parent company allows people to publish, freedom is increased. If it does not, freedom is reduced.

          Generally publishers are interested in increasing freedom. This is a moral principle. Not a legal one. It's still freedom of the press.
          • you left out THEY key issue: government.

            freedom does not need gov to be involved.

            freedom OF THE PRESS does need the gov to be part of it.

            if its private-to-private, FOTP is not releavnt.

            (semantics, but its important to know)

            • by nbauman ( 624611 )

              You're getting your semantics all wrong.

              Most journalists will tell you that freedom of the press means to them the freedom to print whatever they know to be the truth. If the government censors them, or their publisher censors them, they don't have freedom of the press.

              One of the best examples was tobacco. The tobacco industry was one of the biggest advertisers in newspapers and magazines. They were also the major cause of preventable death in the U.S.. Newspapers and magazines printed articles about every

            • Government is irrelevant outside of the first amendment. The first amendment does not define what freedom of speech is any more than the fifth defines what the presumption of innocence is.

              Why does it make any difference who is limiting your freedom? Censorship is people with the power to prevent publishing using that power - whether it's a government or a business owner. Freedom of the press is simply about the ability to publish

              Are the journalist "free" to publish? CNET journalists can't review dish p
      • by Dr Damage I ( 692789 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:55PM (#42563909) Journal
        Freedom of the press means that only CBS gets to decide what CBS says.
      • ...

        If your reputation is as a shill site that won't review something because some corporate types are fighting with some other corporate types, that's not good for your brand.

        Scary how many /.ers seem to believe that the trade press is fair, ballanced, reputable, accurate, responsible, caring, honest, trustworthy, etc.

        They make their money from their adverisers. They know not to bite the hand that feeds them. Grow up and move out of your parent's basement. Yellow journalism started with the first paid advertisement.


        • by nbauman ( 624611 )

          Wide overgeneralization. Having worked in the trade press, I know how fair and balanced they are.

          Many of them pander to their advertisers. Many of them don't. Many of them go through a period of independence, then get bought up by a publisher who panders to advertisers again.

          Business Week used to pride itself on its independence from advertisers. They had a cover story in which they trounced Westinghouse. Westinghouse pulled all their ads. It happened a lot.

          I used to read Automotive News. They published bad

      • This has nothing to do with freedom of the press. CBS has the right to review or not review any products they like, and CNET is nothing more than a division of CBS. Journalistic integrity is another matter...
    • Exactly. People still have freedom of the press, the problem is that they're pissing off the person who owns their press.

      That's what you get when you sell out to a large media company.

    • by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @10:26PM (#42564557) Homepage Journal

      It's to protect your rights from the government

      CBS is a private business and has no obligation to review a product of another business

      When the poster talked about "freedom of the press", I'm pretty sure he meant to talk about editorial independence. [] A journalistic entity isn't credible without editorial independence from the owners of the publication, because without it you can't be sure if anything you read can from that publication is the truth, or is just what is convenient to the owners. Generally publications want the reputation of being unbiased, which is also why they tend to disclose any possible source of biases (such as when slashdot covers a story related to a company that is owned by the same parent company that owns slashdot, and the editors mention that in the summary).

    • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

      That sound you hear? It's their reputation screaming in agony. It's the sound of their doom. Lets let them die the death they so richly deserve. I'm blocking CNET from entering any system I control. How about you?

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:27AM (#42565397) Homepage Journal

      The 1st amendment is the implementation of freedom of the press that is specific to the government.

      The more general category of Freedom of the Press applies everywhere. It is always a good thing and those who oppose it are universally on the wrong side of decency.

    • You see, the problem with that is the government is not the one in charge. They get their marching orders from the interest groups with the loudest voice, and big media conglomerates has made it so that it requires a whole hell of a lot of money to have any voice at all. Compounded onto that a trend where fewer and fewer people are owning a larger chunk of the available wealth, and we are on the fast tract willful enslavement. There is a reason why all major media is owned by 5 conglomerates []. It is very pro
  • Thanks CBS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intropy ( 2009018 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:29PM (#42563709)

    I'm considering canceling my Comcast subscription because their new dta scheme means no more local HD on the basic plan. I hadn't even heard of hopper, but now I think I've found my replacement. Barbra Streisand would be so proud.

  • by storkus ( 179708 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:38PM (#42563791)

    There are more anecdotes, suspicions, etc about this same thing going on each and every day ever since there has been a press, but it's extremely rare for this kind of industry self-censorship to be this blatent and in-your-face.

    This could just be a moronic decision by idiots at CBS without thinking of the consequences...or maybe, just maybe, THEY NO LONGER *CARE* ABOUT ANY CONSEQUENCES...

    Just a hunch...

    • I just dropped cable for streaming, and I added a bunch of free channels. CNET was one of them. I'm going to delete it as soon as I post this. I doubt I will ever put it back. I suggest you do the same.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      CBS's main demographic is old people too lazy to change the channel, mixed with a few young people who want to get out their drool cups and turn off their brains for a while. They have few viewers who even know what a CNET is, and even fewer who would care.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      I don't think they ever did. There was the incident with Dan Rather [] in 2004, but worse was six decades ago when Walter Cronkite lied on air during coverage of the 1952 Presidential election. []

      In summer 1952, a Remington Rand executive approached CBS News chief Sig Mickelson and said the Univac might be able to plot early election-night returns against past voting patterns and spit out a predicted winner. Mickelson and anchor Walter Cronkite thought the claim was a load of baloney but figured it would at least

  • Got to love modern day freedom of the press!

    If you think this is some sort of new phenomenon, you're dreaming. This is the way it's always been, just a lot less subtle than it might have been a few decades ago.

  • Got to love modern day freedom of the press!

    Cnet is free from government abridgment in this affair; their corporate overlords are not subject to the first amendment's constitutional proscription.

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @08:41PM (#42563823) Homepage Journal

    If they're in court over the device, they sure don't want any of their subsidiaries reviewing or commenting on the devices. That would provide the opposition with ammunition in court, and could even lead to a dismissal of the case because they didn't keep their opinions and comments in the court system instead of in public.

  • C|net should give CBS a handful of baubles and trinkets and GTFO. Do they really need CBS, or is it the other way around?

    If CBS doesn't care about journalistic integrity any longer, it should simply change it's initials to mean: Copyright Based Sustenance

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think CBS has opened themselves up to a nice lawsuit. If one of the reasons you were there for the conference was to garner the award and use it in advertisements, who is eligible is extremely important. They've cost Dish network some money and they entitled to some compensation. If I ran the trade show, CBS has diminished the value of the entire convention and the owners should seriously consider suing.

  • It's not as though government is infringing on CNet's ability to publish such reviews or award accolades. The restriction is stemming from corporate politics, and if the parent company chooses a specific course of action such as this, it has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of the press. That said, we do need more independent, non-corporate journalism and information sources. What's left of the free market is responding to fill this gap. Only by breaking down the intimate relationships between gove
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @09:11PM (#42564013) Homepage

    Yes. CBS gets to decide what they publish. You get to decide what you publish. The government has no say in the matter. That's freedom of the press.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Yes. CBS gets to decide what they publish. You get to decide what you publish. The government has no say in the matter. That's freedom of the press.

      Or as the old saying goes, "freedom of the press belongs to those who own the presses".

  • Freedom of the press, at least in the USA, is freedom from government censure (as in in the first amendment of the US Constitution).
    There has always been a long-standing "tradition" of owners of media (like newspapers) to advance the agenda of the owner and to suppress the opposition.

  • Fine CNet won't discuss on it's site particular products that happen to have litigation with it's parent company CBS. Fine. You review what you want and have no obligation to take one product over another. I can respect that.

    But what I don't respect is that a 'Best Of CES' which was currently being run by CNet, and had been run by others before CNet took it on a few years back, eliminated this product from potentially receiving an award not for anything improper by Dish, but because CNet's parent company

  • by multicoregeneral ( 2618207 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @09:20PM (#42564081) Homepage
    So Microsoft owned Slate for the longest time. A few years. Everything was going swimmingly until Slate named Firefox the browser of the year. Microsoft never told them they couldn't do that, but it didn't take Microsoft long to divest themselves of the media outlet.
  • Its not a good thing for a company like CBS to have one part of the business going to court to claim that a key feature of another companies product is killing your main revenue stream and then have another part of the business praising how good the product (and possibly the feature in question) is.

  • When we comment in their reviews, we should add the phrase 'this is almost as good as the Hopper", or "this is better than the Hopper."
  • by acedotcom ( 998378 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @09:59PM (#42564371)
    ....I am 100% done with CNet. There "journalism" has been bad enough over the last five years, but when news cant report the news then its not even worth it. Good bye CNet, you will not be missed.
    • I dumped them a while back. Several years ago my media player was full of CNET podcasts. Now, I have nothing to do with them. I'd like to blame it all on CBS, but truthfully they were in decline before the acquisition. This was just the cherry on the steaming pile that is currently CNET.
    • I wasn't aware that anyone still went to that cancerous site until today.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        yeah, they had a short popularity and then they sucked, if i want to install a crappy ie toolbar they would be the first place to go to, but i don't seem to need that so that's why i stopped going there, slashdot is also teetering

    • that's not just cnet all modern tv news has been utter garbage. its been bought ratings and there point of view of matters then any real news.
  • by GrandCow ( 229565 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @11:20PM (#42564817)

    I seem to be the only person out of my social circle that remembers Tivo getting neutered back in the early 2000's because of features that were less impressive than this. IIRC Tivo was sued by multiple companies because of the 30-second-skip button on their remotes. They eventually had to disable it (you could always re-enable it if you knew what to do) because advertisers wanted their commercials watched, at least in fast forward.

    Now we have the hopper just a few years later. It does the same thing the Tivo did, but it's automatic now, and you don't even see the start of the commercial like you did with the Tivo. Only this time it's being marketed by one of the distribution companies, so they'll grease a few advertiser palms and keep going on their merry way. Hooray for our legal system!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:43AM (#42565449)
      You don't recall correctly. ReplayTV was sued for implementing a feature similar to Dish's Auto-Hop and went bankrupt trying to fight it. Tivo, fearing a similar lawsuit, disabled the 30-second skip feature by default. Dish has shipped remotes with a 30-second skip button for as long as they've had DVRs, and never was sued for it.

      Dish's Auto-hop has to explicitly be enabled; ReplayTV did it automatically. That's the difference that Dish's legal team is assuming they can use to avoid the same fate of ReplayTV. That, and Dish can afford a long legal battle.
  • The first rule of CBS club....
    .... is don't dis' any part of CBS.
    .... is that the club will hit you in the head if you dare speak the truth about things that CBS doesn't like.
    .... is that we are all brainless morons and there is no longer a wall dividing news and editorial content from management and mangerial control.
    .... is that we are all sheeple.
  • I'd block all awards to them just based on their horrible streaming data rate. The quality of their HD is a joke. I've seen less compression in a youtube video.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      I'd just force cnet to display next to their "Award" word that it's a choice of products approved by their corporate masters award.

  • History repeats (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rambo Tribble ( 1273454 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:42AM (#42567173) Homepage
    How do you think the Hearst empire was built?
  • This has nothing to do with "freedom of the press". It's CBS's prerogative to cover what they want to cover. If you don't like what they've chosen not to cover then vote with your feet and don't patronize CBS or its affiliates. Besides, "Streisand Effect".
  • shills for years now. Why would it suprise anyone that they would react this way. They are not in business to review products or advise potential buyers but to MAKE A PROFIT, and advert for their corporate owners.

  • "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" -- A. J. Liebling
    It was a drunk and stormy night. Four shots called out -- drink me.

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly