OLD Media Moves

What does CNET scandal mean for tech press?

January 14, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Rebecca Greenfield of The Atlantic’s Wire writes about what the CNET ethics scandal last week means for technology news coverage in the wake of a CNET editor’s less-than-convincing story about her involvement.

Greenfield writes, “Turrentine went on to say that if she had to face this ‘dilemma’ again, she would not quit. Meaning, if this turns into more than a one-time incident, she wouldn’t have a problem bending to CBS again?

“CBS’s statement to The Verge hasn’t calmed the critics, either. ‘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,’ reads the CBS reply. Define ‘100 percent’ and ‘editorial independence,’ please.

“While CNET struggles to emerge from this mess, the situation appears to be threatening the entire ecosystem of the technology press, which has a history of reinventing its standards on bias in product reviews. A number of gadget and tech-news sites fall under larger corporate umbrellas: AOL owns Engadget; NewsCorp owns The Wall Street Journal and its influential tech coverage; BuzzFeed FWD has to answer to its investors, who put money in all sorts of tech ventures; IAC invests in companies like Aereo but owns The Daily Beast. Turns out this wasn’t just a family feud — the CNET and CBS scandal at CES could set a precedent for years to come.”

Read more here.

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