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March 22, 2004
CBS Fails to Disclose Financial Ties to Richard Clarke

While CBS gave Richard Clarke the star treatment in a rare double-segment interview on CBS's 60 Minutes and promoted the appearance for several days prior to airing the segment last night, CBS hid the fact that Viacom -- the network's parent company -- published Clarke's book, through Viacom's Simon & Schuster under their Free Press imprint (via Drudge and Instapundit):

60 MINUTES aired a double-segment investigative report on the new book "Against All Enemies" -- but did not disclose how CBSNEWS parent VIACOM is publishing the book and will profit from any and all sales! ... 60 MINUTES pro Lesley Stahl is said to have been aware of the conflict before the program aired.

CBSNEWS.COM did add a disclaimer to its Internet coverage of the book over the weekend: "Against All Enemies," which is being published Monday by FREE PRESS, a subsidiary of SIMON & SCHUSTER. Both and SIMON & SCHUSTER are units of VIACOM." And CBS RADIO did carry a disclaimer in its news coverage of the book.

According to Matt Drudge, this is not the first time CBS has concealed its financial interest in an investigation by their news organization:

Earlier this year, it was Stahl who also profiled another author on 60 MINUTES -- for another book owned by VIACOMCBS -- without any disclaimer!

"The Price of Loyalty" by former Treasury Secretary, turned Bush critic, Paul O'Neill was financed, produced and released [and rolled-out at CBSNEWS] by VIACOM's SIMON & SCHUSTER.

CBS News has apparently decided to publish anything by anyone with a grudge against George Bush, and part of their marketing is to hijack the reputation of the news organization that Edward R. Murrow built in order to push their political agenda. Laura Ingraham wondered on her show today why Lesley Stahl tossed Clarke softball after softball during the interview, and now we know why.

CBS News President Andrew Heyward needs to address this financial conflict of interest immediately if CBS News wishes to retain any credibility whatsoever. Heads need to roll over this, beginning with the person who greenlighted the interview. Until CBS comes clean, we will know that CBS News whores out for Viacom, and Andrew Heyward is apparently its pimp.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 22, 2004 12:24 PM

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