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Monday, March 06, 2006

Why CBS Sucks

Recently, we put a post up about autistic high school student Jason McElwain from Greece, N.Y. The special ed student had served as the manager on the school basketball team until, for the last game of the season, he was allowed to suit up to sit on the bench to see what that felt like. Then, with four minutes left in the game and his team far ahead, his coach put him in the game. The hope was to maybe get him just one basket. Instead, McElwain lit up the scoreboard for 20 points including six - SIX! - three point baskets.

For us and many others, we had first heard about this story via a viral email sent from friend to friend which linked to YouTube.com where someone had posted an excellent CBS Evening News story about it. It truly was one of the most inspiring stories we'd heard/seen in a long time. And the CBS segment was very well done.

Thus, in addition to the copy for our post, we included an embedded link to the CBS story on YouTube. That is, until CBS made YouTube take it down so, we assume, it could be found exclusively on the CBSNews.com site complete with a Wal-Mart ad.

Now, we here at the M Zone understand piracy concerns. But this wasn't a sitcom, or song, or movie that was being pilfered or used for profit (YouTube, at this point, doesn't sell ads). Nor is it like they're going to be releasing the DVD box set of 2006 CBS News stories down the road. Quite simply, this was an inspiring, uplifting free news segment about an autistic kid. And unless CBS and/or Wal-Mart paid Jason or the McElwain family (fat chance) for the rights, I for one think it's complete bullshit that they should profit from him or his news story. It goes against the very nature of what Jason's tale is and was all about.

Furthermore, one would think CBS would be thrilled to have this many people identifying their news division with such a fantastic, well-done story (instead of made-up news stories like the Dan Rather/Bush National Guard fiasco a few years ago) . Hell, CBS probably hasn't had this many people see one of its news segments since Walter Cronkite was on the air. But instead, it came down to the almighty dollar for the Eye network.

So, despite what CBS may claim, this wasn't about Internet piracy. Don't be fooled. This was about CBS realizing they had a popular segment and decided there was money to be made. Even if it was off of an autistic high school kid and his amazing story.


BaggyPantsDevil said...

I agree completely. CBS and discount retail behemoth Wal-Mart just plain suck.

I understand that broadcasting is a business and money makes the world go around, but this clip being e-mailed to everyone and playing for free online was free advertising that says: 'CBS, we're not just the guys who make shit up.' And--since a frequent complaint about the news is that it's all bad--here's a nice story that actually wasn't.

This is a little like ESPN attempting to sell their "This is SportsCenter" commercials to people via iTunes. Not only greedy, but stupid, too.

Sean said...

This story gets even better, I just saw that his team won the state title, I belive that's what it was.

Watch out though, CBS might make us pay to talk about it.

WIL 66 said...

bpd, I completely agree with you that CBS is being ridiculously greedy and upsurd. However, just one quick clarification about your comment on ESPN. The "This is Sportscenter" commercials are actually free on iTunes. But they ARE still greedy because they charge you $1.99 if you want to watch a 10-15 minute "highlight" clip of any of the BCS games. How lame is that?!?

BaggyPantsDevil said...

Wil 66,

You are correct that the "This is SportsCenter" commercials are now available for free, but initially people had to pay to download them. There was such an overwhelmingly negative response that the commercials were quickly made available for free and all the negative reviews about the cost were deleted.

WIL 66 said...

bpd, didn't realize that.....those greedy bastards

Kirbdaddy said...

CBS employs that douchebag Seth Davis...that is reason enough to hate CBS. On the other hand, I love Wal-Mart, sorry!!!