This past Friday, CNET’s parent company, CBS, removed Dish Network’s Hopper with Sling DVR from CNET’s “Best Of CES.” CNET had claimed this was due to a litigation between CBS and Dish Network in regards to AutoHop, a DVR feature that allows users to skip all commercials.
CNET originally chose Dish Network’s Hopper for “Best Of CES” award because of its “innovative features that push shows recorded on DVR to ipads.”
After CNET had already chosen Dish Network’s product to be part of their “Best Of CES 2013,” CBS decided to force staff into removing Dish Network’s Hopper With Sling DVR from the awards.
Lindsey Turrentine, Editor-in-chief of CNET says “We were in an impossible situation as journalists. The conflict of interest was real–a legal case can impact the bottom line of our company and introduce the possibility of bias–but the circumstances demanded more transparency and not hurried policy,” Turrentine added.
In regards to to CNET removing Dish’s Hopper from the “Best of CES”, Joe Clayton, Dish Network CEO says, “We are saddened that CNET’s staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS’ heavy-handed tactics. This action has nothing to do with the merits of our new product. Hopper with Sling is all about consumer choice and control over the TV experience. That CBS, which owns CNET.com, would censor that message is insulting to consumers. DISH is not afraid to stand up for consumer rights and we think that Hopper with Sling will do well, despite the network’s questionable actions.”
You can check out a recent review CNET did on Dish Network’s Hopper With Sling DVR here.
Sources at CBS are justifying their actions of banning Dish’s product due to the chance that Dish can use the content against CBS in court.
On January 14, CNET senior writer Greg Sandoval announced on Twitter that he has resigned from CNET, stating that, “I no longer have confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence.”
That same day, CNET Editor-in-chief Turrentine announced on CNET that Dish’s Hopper truly won their Best of CES award.
A CBS spokesperson has responded:
“CBS has nothing but the highest regard for the editors and writers at CNET, and has managed that business with respect as part of its CBS Interactive division since it was acquired in 2008. This has been an isolated and unique incident in which a product that has been challenged as illegal, was removed from consideration for an award. The product in question is not only the subject of a lawsuit between Dish and CBS, but between Dish and nearly every other major media company as well. CBS has been consistent on this situation from the beginning, and, in terms of covering actual news, CNET maintains 100% editorial independence, and always will. We look forward to the site building on its reputation of good journalism in the years to come.”