OK, this is dangerously near flogging a moribund equine, but this blog's Dubious Distinction award for business idiocy is hereby conferred on CBS News, for destruction of brand equity.
Before yesterday's statements and broadcasts, there was a case of willful neglect of due diligence on the document set. After yesterday, there's aprima facie case that CBS has been taking its conclusion as a premise all along. There's a name for that, and it isn't 'journalism' - it starts with a 'p'. It's hard to think of a better way of destroying the accumulated trust going all the way back to Edward R. Murrow, and the impact has been immediate.
Caveats: The transformation now engulfing legacy media may be creating niches for 'ideological specialists'. Indeed, it's telling that the viewership stats linked above show a rise in San Francisco only. But undertaking such a move ad hoc without some understanding of the splash onto the overall CBS brand and Viacom generally is madness. Unless Sumner Redstone engineered an ideological shift deliberately (and that would be a story!), he and the Viacom board must be livid. Another week will tell whether Rather and CBS News have now become 'coyote ugly.' Then I may have to revisit the scope of the DD award.
By seeming coincidence, this all popped up while I've been playing with an extended post regarding an economics driven look at the impact of citizens' media on the legacy media. Trust was always at the core of the analysis; the issue just become rather poignant. The piece will be up by tomorrow AM.