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In May 2010, CBS and CNN were reportedly in talks to pool their newsgathering operations, though a full-fledged merger was considered unlikely. (The two organizations had also been rumored to be discussing a partnership previously, in 2008 and 1999.)
In 2004, CBS News ran a broadcast presenting documents critical of President George W. Bush’s military service. Those documents’ authenticity was widely challenged, and the ensuing controversy resulted in the ouster of four CBS News executives and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by former anchor Dan Rather. In response to the scandal, CBS News launched the Public Eye blog to examine its own newsgathering operation. The blog was updated until late 2009. 60 Minutes underwent a similar controversy in 2013 when it was forced to retract a story centering on a false account of the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. The story’s reporter, Lara Logan, and its editor were given indefinite leaves of absence; Logan returned to work in June 2014. That story, along with a credulous one that followed on the National Security Agency, caused some to question whether 60 Minutes’ journalistic skepticism had eroded.
CBS hired former Today Show host Katie Couric in 2006 to host its CBS Evening News, one of the highest-profile personnel moves in network news history. Her arrival did not improve CBS’ ratings, however, and her tenure has generally been marked with strained relations, including rumors of her departure in 2008. In April 2011, Couric announced she would be leaving the program.
CBS created an online division in 2005 called CBS Digital Media, which was later renamed CBS Interactive. In 2008, CBS acquired the web-based media company CNET Networks and merged it with CBS Interactive, a move that included a merger of the newsrooms for CNETNews.com and CBSNews.com. In 2013, CBS forced CNET to re-vote on an award its staff had decided to give to Dish Network’s commercial-skipping DVR The Hopper, which CBS was suing Dish over. The interference led one CNET reporter to resign and raised questions about CNET’s editorial independence.
CBS News produced several regular webcasts on its site, including an interview show with Couric and a daily political briefing. In May 2011, CBS News debuted What’s Trending, an “interactive TV show” that is hosted by Shira Lazar and that streams live on Ustream, Livestream, and YouTube. In 2013, CBS News and CBS Interactive were reported to be developing a 24-hour streaming digital video service.
CBS News debuted its iPad app in September 2010.
Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007. Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13…