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CBS-Partnered Newspaper Gets Memo Not to Diss CBS


By Tim Molloy

Good news, Dayton, Ohio-based "NCIS" fans: You won't have to read any bad reviews of your favorite show in the local paper. Or anything else you might not like about CBS.

An editor sent a memo to the CBS-affiliated Dayton Daily News on Friday ordering staffers not to say anything mean about the network.

Actually, it went further than that: Rashida Rawls, a Cox Media Group editor, called out staffers for running a wire service story that wasn't nice enough to America's most-watched network. Cox Media Group owns the paper and local TV station WHIO-TV, a CBS affiliate.

Here's the memo, obtained by media watchdog Jim Romenesko:

Hi all,

The wire filler story on D2 of today's Life section cast all of the TV networks, including CBS, in a negative light. Our news station - WHIO-TV is a CBS-affiliate station. We do not want to run any stories that cast our station in a negative light or even allude to it negatively.

I know we're working really hard - and very quickly - to do the very best in selecting wire stories. But I wanted to bring this to our attention so that we can be more careful in selecting nondaily wire copy and in our editing and/or selection of stories that contain references to CBS. Remember, we are better together.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Rashida Rawls

That's great corporate synergy, but not-so-great journalism: Newspapers generally try to steer clear of biases that might influence their news coverage.

The offending "wire filler" came from Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Neal Justin, who gave CBS a grade of "C" for its fall lineup. (ABC got a D-plus, Fox another C, and NBC a B-minus.)

"The network's relatively stable schedule means it's offering fewer new programs, which, in the case of the mercifully canceled sitcom "We Are Men," is a good thing," wrote Justin.

Oooh, burn.

Cox, the Daily News and CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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