Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cnet Clashes with Parent CBS Corp., Reporter Resigns

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cnet Clashes with Parent CBS Corp., Reporter Resigns

Article excerpt

There are companies with divisions that spend billions of dollars on entertainment. There are also companies with divisions that review new gadgets and sometimes champion the spectacular ones -- even those that challenge the status quo.

And when those divisions are owned by the same company, there is a chance that they will wind up in the kind of predicament that CBS Corp. found itself in last week.

A senior writer for CNET, the technology news website owned by CBS, resigned Monday after the site was barred from presenting an award to a company being sued by CBS. Greg Sandoval, a former reporter for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times who has spent the past seven years at CNET, said on Twitter that he no longer had confidence "that CBS is committed to editorial independence."

Mr. Sandoval did not respond to an interview request. His resignation announcement came half an hour after another technology news site, The Verge, laid bare the details of the conflict.

The case started to unfold Wednesday, when CNET's employees did something they do every year: cast votes for the Best of CES Awards, the official awards program of the Consumer Electronics Show. For the Best in Show award, the employees chose the Hopper, a digital video recorder sold by Dish Network that allows users to skip ads on prime-time network television shows. Dish had showed off the newest version of the Hopper at CES, and CNET's reviewers were impressed by it.

But CBS claims the Hopper is illegal. Along with several other network owners, it went to court last year over the ad-skipping feature; the litigation is pending.

The vote created a "legal conflict for CBS," the CNET editor in chief, Lindsey Turrentine, said in an editorial Monday afternoon that confirmed the substance of The Verge's article. …

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