Cox spokesman Michael Athmer told the media site TheWrap, the partnership between the Cox owned media entities, “in no way keeps us from objectively covering any news story.” He added, “We are addressing this with our staff so messages like this don’t happen again.”
The memo came to light yesterday on JimRomenesko.com. In it, Rashida Rawls, a Cox Media Group editor, issued a memo after the Daily News published an article critical of CBS. In her memo she said, “The wire filler story on D2 of today’s Life section cast all of the TV networks, including CBS, in a negative light. Our news station – WHIO-TV is a CBS-affiliate station. We do not want to run any stories that cast our station in a negative light or even allude to it negatively.”
The memo raises often expressed concerns about large media companies owning multiple outlets in a single market.
Athmer told TheWrap, “There is nothing more important to us than our role as a watchdog in this community, and we will never back down from that job.” He added, “Far from hindering our objectivity, our relationship with WHIO-TV has strengthened our ability to cover the most important concerns in our community. This is what our readers – and WHIO-TV’s viewers – expect from us, and we are committed to doing our best every day.”
Athmer told TVSpy, the memo was “feedback that one manager sent some members of her team” and was not a Cox Media memo. He also said WHIO was not aware of the memo and “had no part in it.”