A couple of weeks back, CBS Corp barred subsidiary tech news site CNET from presenting a Consumer Electronics Show best-in-show award to Dish’s new Hopper With Sling because of Dish’s pending litigation with CBS. Now it turns out that CNET is barred from reviewing any product or service directly implicated in a CBS lawsuit, according to TheVerge.com. CNET called attention to the broader ban in a new report on a significant update to the Barry Diller-backed streaming-TV startup service Aereo — which has been sued by CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. The update included a new interface that adds access via Roku and that device’s remote. CBS’ policy against reviewing products or services involved in litigation with the company doesn’t include a ban on reporting news, so CNET tiptoed around “reviewing” the Aereo update while also calling attention to the restriction. The story is as much about the major networks’ lawsuits against Aereo as it is about the service update. In the CES situation, Dish turned the tables on CBS, using the corporate ban on the CES best-in-show award in advertising for new subscribers. But as TheVerge article suggests, in such cases “the whole story may be impossible for CNET to tell without compromising its objectivity, its corporate owners, or both.”
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