New York Times story on CBS squashing Letterman clips misses the point? Or does it?

I wish Brian Stelter and Bill Carter at ye olde New York Times were readers of The Comic's Comic, because if they were, they would have seen that — despite their assertion in today's paper that CBS was working overtime to eliminate unauthorized clips from David Letterman's master class in how to spin one's own sex scandal, and claiming CBS wasn't offering official copies of the segment — the network posted Letterman's acknowledgement online that same night and has left it up for anyone to see on I know this because that's where I found it and that's where it continues to play along with my transcript of the full segment.

Thanks to Rachel Sklar on Mediaite for the link on that. Sklar thinks I'm splitting hairs here, because she argued that the real story is about Fair Use and people being able to upload newsworthy clips to YouTube and anywhere else.

But if CBS lets you watch Letterman's acknowledgement on and offers the FULL episode from Thursday on the official Late Show with David Letterman page…wait…what's this? When I clicked on the full episodes page, expecting Thursday's video to begin, I just got a message saying "The requested video could not be loaded. Click below to watch more videos." So, OK. Maybe Sklar and Stelter have a good point, too! I yield. UPDATED: The episode is back up, and there's more from tonight's show, too!

Maybe the real issue here, then, is that CBS and the CBS News division actually want to retain some ownership over their own story? Imagine that. A news organization not wanting to give all of its information away for free on the Internet. If only we had this kind of thinking 10-15 years ago, perhaps thousands of people like me still would be working in newspapers and magazines (or at least getting paid by them and contributing pieces to the Internets)! If this had happened to, say, an NBC or FOX personality, would the networks be avoiding YouTube to send people to Hulu? And if so, would that be so bad? (Note: To fans who live outside of America, and cannot watch Hulu, of course the answer is yes)

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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