A reporter for technology reviews website CNET.com quit on Monday citing via Twitter a lack of "confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence," after the parent corporation reportedly interfered with the site's editorial decision process.
According to reporter Greg Sandoval, CBS interceded in the editorial process of a recently published article showcasing the site's choice for best gadgets from the 2013 International CES gadget show in Las Vegas last week. Sandoval claimed CBS vetoed the initial selection of Dish Network's "Hopper with Sling," as the best home theater and audio product and hdd it replaced with with a sound bar from TV maker Vizio.
CBS is currently in a legal fight with Dish over the Hopper's ad-skipping capabilities, which many networks fear will negatively impact their ad sales capabilities.
Following the Twitter post, CNET's Reviews Editor-in-Chief Lindsey Turrentine backed up Sandoval with an article she posted online several hours later.
In the article, Turrentine confirmed "the conflict of interest was real," adding Dish's Hopper won the designation because of "innovative features that push shows recorded on DVR to iPads."
"I wish I could have overridden the decision not to reveal that Dish had won the vote," Turrentine continued
. "For that I apologize to my staff and to CNET readers."
According to Turrentine, CNET staff members were asked to vote for a second time on the selection after CBS's apparent interference in the process removing Dish's Network's gadget from the selection.
A CBS spokesman refused to comment on how the matter was handled or whether similar incidents have occurred at other news properties owned by the corporation, such as CBS News and 60 Minutes.
In a prepared statement, CBS stated: "In terms of covering actual news, CNET maintains 100 percent editorial independence, and always will," CBS said in a statement.
In December, CNET received 33.4 million visits, up 8 percent from the previous year.
CBS Corp purchased the well-respected review website for $1.8 billion in June 2008.
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