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CBS-Partnered Newspaper Gets Memo Not to Diss CBS

6/17/2014

By Tim Molloy
TheWrap

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.

Thanks.

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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