OLD Media Moves

CNET staff were forced to re-vote on awards

January 14, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Joshua Topolsky of The Verge writes about the growing controversy at CNET, where its journalists were forced to re-vote for an award after originally picking The Dish’s Hopper because CNET’s parent company, CBS Corp., is in litigation with The Dish.

Topolsky writes, “Apparently, executives at CBS learned that the Hopper would win ‘Best of Show’ prior to the announcement. Before the winner was unveiled, CBS Interactive News senior-vice president and General Manager Mark Larkin informed CNET’s staff that the Hopper could not take the top award. The Hopper would have to be removed from consideration, and the editorial team had to re-vote and pick a new winner from the remaining choices. Sources say that Larkin was distraught while delivering the news — at one point in tears — as he told the team that he had fought CBS executives who had made the decision.

“Apparently the move to strike the Hopper from the awards was passed down directly to Larkin from the office of CBS CEO, Leslie Moonves. Moonves has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Hopper, telling investors at one point, ‘Hopper cannot exist… if Hopper exists, we will not be in business with (Dish).’

“According to sources, reviews lead Lindsey Turrentine, Larkin, and CBS Interactive president Jim Lanzone fought hard against the mandate from CBS, with numerous calls between CBS Interactive and CBS in New York. One source told The Verge that Turrentine and Larkin were ‘beside themselves’ over the situation.

“This runs counter to the official story given by officials at CBS and CNET to both Dish Network and the public. Dish’s head of corporate communications Bob Toevs told CNN that the company had been contacted by CNET representatives and informed that the Hopper had been removed from consideration for an award just prior to the news site’s article announcing this year’s winners.”

Read more here.

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