UPDATE, 11:53 AM: CBS has a response of sorts to the charge by former CNET media writer Greg Sandoval that it compromised the site’s integrity by refusing to let editors present a “Best of CES” award to Dish Network’s ad-zapping Hopper with Sling DVR. The company distinguishes the award from “covering actual news” where, it says, “CNET maintains 100% editorial independence, and always will.” As for the Dish matter: CBS says it “has been consistent on this situation from the beginning.” It considers this “an isolated and unique incident” involving “a product that has been challenged as illegal” by CBS “and nearly every other major media company as well.” The company says it “has nothing but the highest regard for the editors and writers at CNET” and looks forward “to the site building on its reputation of good journalism in the years to come.”
PREVIOUS, 10:27 AM: Respected media and digital entertainment writer Greg Sandoval tweets this morning that he left because he’s no longer confident that CBS “is committed to editorial independence” and he wants “to be known as an honest reporter.” At issue is the company’s decision last week to bar CNET from giving a “Best of CES” award to Dish Network’s new DVR, Hopper with Sling. CNET staff voted to give its top prize to the Hopper, but CBS chief Les Moonves’ office ordered a change, technology news site The Vergereports. The company said last week that it removed the Hopper “from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp.” which says the DVR’s ability to automatically skip over ads in recorded shows violates the network’s copyrights. CNET added that it “will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.” Sandoval says today that “CNET wasn’t honest about what occurred regarding Dish” and that was “unacceptable to me. We are supposed to be truth tellers.” He added that journalists who handle news and reviews were not at fault. CNET’s leaders “are also honest but used poor judgment.” We’re awaiting CBS’ response. Last week Dish CEO Joe Clayton said that CNET “is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS’ heavy-handed tactics.”
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