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A Whopper of an Editor’s Note on a Positive Story

NJ‘s story on the ins and outs of CBS’ “The Early Show” isn’t so alarming as you move through it. The author spells out the new approach to the consistently third tier morning show — fewer celebs, more politicians, more of a serious “60 Minutes” type mentality because the strong female demographic can handle serious topics after 8 a.m. There’s talk that avoiding the Casey Anthony murder trial could spell disaster in the ratings — what does it matter when they’re still in third place? Main point: They’re “breaking the chains” says interim executive producer Batt Humphries, who is quoted extensively throughout the story.

It’s the Editor’s note at the end of the story that caught our eye: EDITOR’S NOTE: CBS News recently partnered with National Journal for coverage of the 2012 campaign.

Asked about the apparent conflict of interest in writing such a piece and the merits of publishing it when anything less than glowing could potentially cause a breakdown in the relationship, NJ Publicist Taylor West told FishbowlDC:

“As part of her beat, Amanda [Munoz Temple] monitors all the morning shows every day, and started conceiving a piece about the changed nature of the Early Show before the CBS/NJ partnership came about. The Hotline editors agreed that it was an interesting story – it’s definitely a new thing to see so much political and hard news coverage in that 8:00 hour on a broadcast network – and Amanda went to work on it. When the CBS/NJ partnership was put together (independent of anyone at Hotline), the editors carefully reviewed the story for accuracy and fairness, and added the Editor’s Note for full transparency.”

Asked why NJ ran the piece with such a relationship in place, West replied, “Because it’s an interesting, well-reported look at the things that are happening behind the scenes at CBS and what it could mean for the political junkies who make up Hotline’s core audience. Spiking a good piece of reporting because of a partnership between the two organizations would be exactly the wrong response.”

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