Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Can Show You The World

Tonight’s 60 Minutes feature on LeBron James yielded few new insights, other than his amazing ability to hit trick shots. What really wowed me was that CBS chose to run the piece at all, immediately following their coverage of March Madness and pre-dating by six days CBS’s broadcast of the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. Remember, CBS has not shown pro basketball since the days of Dick Stockton and Hubie Brown in the late ‘80s. Why would CBS give free advertising to the NBA, which represents direct competition for CBS’s long-term college basketball commitment, and particularly just a few days before CBS’s highest-rated college basketball broadcast of the year? Given that 60 Minutes is more entertainment than news, this decision struck me as curious at best. Of course, if the 60 Minutes crew legitimately applied their investigative skills to the college basketball scene, what they discovered would likely not be pretty.

I was also puzzled at CBS’s decision to give free promotion during its segment on internet security to both Symantec and Google, both of which would be very glad to sell anti-badware products to the masses. Are there not academic or non-profit institutions tracking malware that could provide exactly the same neat-o demonstrations of security risks as the Symantec fellow provided? Why, I seem to recall the New York Times featuring a report by an internet security center at the University of Toronto just this very day.

Curious all around. I really and truly wonder whether David Stern, Eric Schmidt, and John Thompson (the CEO of Symantec, not the retired basketball coach!) will compensate CBS News down the road for 60 Minutes’ generosity.

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