Trade show exec throws CNET under the bus, but who is he to judge media ethics?

Gary Shapiro is chief of the Consumer Electronics Association, the tech industry group behind the massive annual CES trade show. In an op-ed published by USA Today, he writes that the organization is reevaluating its relationship with tech news site CNET, which oversees a big CES-related award. CNET was planning to give this award to a particular gadget until its parent company, CBS, interfered.

Recently, I found myself thrust in the middle of a kerfuffle when CBS ordered its subsidiary CNET to remove a productfrom consideration for a "Best of CES" award at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. I can never recall any major media company, much less a top-tier First Amendment protector like CBS, publicly mandating an editorial decision based on business interests. … Not only have CNET users and partners like us lost confidence in its independence, but the action is so devastating to editorial integrity that other staffers are almost certainly freshening their resumes. …

2013 begins with CBS destroying its reputation for editorial integrity in an attempt to eliminate a new market competitor. Now we are considering our legal options under our agreement with CNET.


Now, it's true that CNET has a credibility problem as a result of CBS giving it editorial marching orders. But let's take a look at the sort of thing that CES gave awards to until people started paying attention:

The exquisite unique Ultra-Portable Wireless NoteBook "SG111" to access the world anywhere! This Computer does not employ Hard Disk or any mechanical parts, and is completely based on AtomChip optoelectronics.

Welcome to the World of Nanomicrons and Beyond!

100GB/256GB AtomChip® Non-Volatile RAM and Storage / 4.0GHz AtomChip® CPU (AtomChip®Quantum processor with 128MB on-board memory) …

Complete lack of mechanical parts combined with
ultra-high density, ultra-high speed and extremely compact size distinguish this memory from all existing memories.
Also, this Quantum-Optical technology allows to build
up NvIOpSRAM to 256GB in one package, designed for USB port

Granted, the CEA gives these awards out like candy, but 2TB non-volatile RAM? Also, this. Heaven forbid that the ethical credibility of the CEA be tarnished by association with CNET.