Les Moonves Forces CNET Writer to walk the Plank

Well, he didn’t really “force” the guy. CNET reporter Greg Sandoval could have abandoned his principles and stayed employed. Here’s the story:


CNET Writer Quits Over Anti-Hopper Order That Reportedly Came Directly From CBS CEO by Chris Morran

Late last week, we told you that CNET had been told it could not even consider Dish’s ad-skipping Hopper DVR for an award because CNET’s parent company, CBS, was involved in a lawsuit over the device. Now comes news that a CNET reporter has quit over the directive, which one report says came straight from CBS CEO Les Moonves.

[On January 14th], CNET journalist Greg Sandoval Tweeted: “Hello all. Sad to report that I’ve resigned from CNET. I no longer have confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence.”

Followed by the following Tweets:

CNET wasn’t honest about what occurred regarding Dish is unacceptable to me. We are supposed to be truth tellers.

Please know no one in News or Reviews editorial did anything wrong. I believe CNET’s leaders are also honest but used poor judgement.

I am not disgruntled. CBS and CNET were great to me. I just want to be known as an honest reporter. Thanks everyone for reading me.

Sandoval’s exit comes at about the same time as TheVerge.com reports that it wasn’t just CBS corporate lackeys that said CNET couldn’t consider the newest version of the Hopper for its Best Of CES awards (presented annually at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas); it was actually Mr. Moonves who said the device could not be considered.

TheVerge also claims to have learned that the new Hopper, which includes Slingbox technology to allow users to watch recorded shows online, was also set to be named “Best of Show” before CBS nixed its inclusion in the awards.

Moonves has not made any attempt in the past to disguise his hatred for the Hopper. At one point he told investors, “Hopper cannot exist… if Hopper exists, we will not be in business with [Dish].”

As for why CBS would go so far as to stop CNET from handing out an award — which honestly, the majority of consumers don’t know about — to Hopper, TheVerge cites sources at CBS Interactive as saying that the company is worried that positive reviews and awards by a CBS-owned publication could be used against the company in its lawsuit against Dish.