* Dish's newest Hopper DVR initially won Best of CES award
* CBS intervened to stop award over legal fight with Dish
* CNET editor decries "impossible situation"
* CBS: unique matter, CNET has 100 pct editorial
By Liana B. Baker
Jan 14 CBS Corp continues to experience
fallout from its decision to stop its technology blog CNET from
giving an industry award to satellite television operator Dish
Network Corp during last week's Consumer Electronics
On Monday, high-profile CNET writer Greg Sandoval resigned
from the technology blog, saying on Twitter that he was unsure
of CBS' commitment to editorial independence.
His resignation was prompted by CBS' decision last week to
intervene and prevent CNET from giving a "Best of CES" award to
the latest version of Dish's "Hopper" digital video recorder due
to ongoing litigation between the two companies over the device.
Later on Monday, Lindsey Turrentine, the editor in chief of
CNET Reviews, who remains with CNET, posted a statement saying
that CBS put her and her staff in an "impossible situation as
Last week at CES, Dish unveiled the latest version of its
controversial digital video recorder, dubbed the "Hopper with
Sling," that gives consumers the ability to stream live TV and
recorded programs outside the home, among other features.
CNET, which publishes reviews of products as well as news
stories, chooses the winners for the "Best of CES" awards at the
trade show each year. The blog initially chose the "Hopper" as
this year's winner, but Turrentine said CBS, which owns the
widely followed blog, soon intervened and alerted it to the
legal conflict over the Hopper.
Dish is already embroiled in a legal battle with all the
major broadcast networks, including CBS, over the DVR's first
iteration, which has an "autohop" function that allows
subscribers to skip commercials automatically when they are
watching recorded shows. Dish maintains that its 14 million
subscribers desperately want such a feature.
But CBS and its broadcasting brethren - Disney's
ABC, Comcast's NBC, and News Corp's FOX -
argue that Dish is undermining the networks' key source of
The latest version of the DVR is likely to spark more
litigation, analysts say.
Dish ignited the controversy last Thursday by putting out a
press release saying it had been barred from receiving the
According to Turrentine, CBS forced CNET to disqualify Dish
and did not let CNET issue a transparent statement about what
In a statement, CBS described the incident as "isolated and
unique" and said that "in terms of covering actual news, CNET
maintains 100 percent editorial independence, and always will."
Dish spokesman Bob Toevs called the situation "disappointing
for all parties involved."
"As a company, what we asking for is fair, critical coverage
be it in our favor or not," Toevs said.
This isn't the first public posturing between Dish and CBS.
In September, Dish Chief Executive Joseph Clayton called CBS CEO
Les Moonves a "bully" for threatening to pull the No. 1
broadcast network off of its systems because of the ad-skipping
capabilities of the Hopper.