AUTO HOP: Hopper with Sling actually won “Best in Show?”

It won, but CBS forced CNET’s editors to change their minds? That’s the report coming through the internet this morning. DISH showed its new Hopper with Sling at CES (we got an exclusive tour) and everyone was talking about this new box that combines satellite TV viewing, placeshifting, and offloading content to an iPad. The general consensus was, it was a big upgrade from last year’s Hopper.

How big? The rumor is, it was voted “Best in Show” by CNET. Then, according to this article in The Verge, CNET’s corporate parent CES requested that Hopper be pulled from consideration and CNET’s editors complied. Not only that, CNET’s editorial policy now says,

[quote]The Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.[/quote]

Whaaaaaa? Back the truck up!

CNET is a well-respected site for reviews and for them to pull products from review or consideration because of corporate conflicts is huge. As far as we know, there’s no major site (including this one) that does that. Even sites like NBCNews.com (formerly known as MSNBC.com) report honestly and fairly on their corporate parents with disclaimers like “NBC Universal owns and operates NBCNews.com.” That’s all it takes.

For CBS to put their hand the soup in like this is completely unexpected. CBS is the company that practically invented integrity in reporting. Their anchors in the 1950s and 1960s were the most trusted people in America. Managing Editors like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite butted heads over and over with management when there was any question of favoritism. If this allegation is true, it’s a huge slap in the face to these icons of journalism.

It’s true, CBS chairman Les Moonves is no fan of Auto Hop. But forcing the Hopper out of competition is going far further than he has before. What’s more interesting is that CNET is one of CBS’ smaller properties; it would be one thing if 60 Minutes did a piece praising Hopper and its commercial-skipping technology, but to chide one of its many web sites for awarding Hopper with “Best in Show” at a tech conference? That’s a surprising turn.

It reminds us here at The Solid Signal Blog that every site, even smaller ones like this, are responsible for upholding the standards of integrity that all journalists should follow. It’s true, we’re here to help and promote our corporate parent Solid Signal, but we do our best to give you honest and unbiased reviews, and we hope to never be accused of the kind of meddling that CBS may be guilty of.