Disney Warned Fusion Not To Do News Coverage That Might Embarrass It Or Others In Hollywood

from the so-that-happened dept

The NY Times has an interesting profile of “Fusion” — the briefly high-profile project that was a combined offspring of Disney and Univision. Fusion got some attention last year for scooping up a bunch of high-profile journalists (including a few that I really like) to power its rush into the “we’ll cater to the millennials!” market. The article suggests things aren’t actually going that well, but that’s not that interesting to me. Instead, what caught my attention was a brief aside about how Disney keeps stepping in to tell Fusion to shut up about stuff that Disney and its friends in Hollywood don’t like — such as coverage of the leaked Sony emails:

For instance, according to two senior Fusion staff members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Disney put the organization on notice that it would not take kindly to coverage that might dent its standing with consumers. The warning came after Fusion published several stories based on documents that hackers stole from Sony.

Fusion is not alone: In negotiations to create a Vice cable channel, Disney and Hearst insisted on a clause protecting the companies in the event that Vice content “embarrasses Hearst or Disney in any way,” according to people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations.

Hmmm. If true, I’d hope that some of the journalists who joined Fusion would consider standing up and speaking out about that kind of bullshit corporate interference with the journalism side of things. Every time a big company owns a journalism outlet, we always hear that they promise not to interfere, but everyone knows the reality is different. But for the actual journalists, this kind of thing requires standing up and telling the corporate parents to shove off.

And it is true that Fusion was one of the leading online sources publishing stories based on the hacked Sony emails, with a whole bunch of stories by both Kevin Roose and Kashmir Hill — two of Fusion’s high-profile hires. It doesn’t appear that either have written about the Sony hacks since back in December — even though there have been a bunch of stories that have come out of the leaks since then.

Remember when CBS stepped in and blocked CNET, a publication that it owned, from giving an award to DISH, because CBS was involved in a legal dispute with DISH? At least one CNET reporter ended up resigning over that kind of interference. If the reports about Disney interfering with Fusion’s coverage of things like the Sony hack emails is true, one would hope that Fusion’s high-profile journalists would do the same.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: disney, fusion, univision

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Disney Warned Fusion Not To Do News Coverage That Might Embarrass It Or Others In Hollywood”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
John Fendersonsays:

Not journalism

If there exists a clause like with Fusion & Vice, it is a clear admission that the outlet is not engaging in journalism at all, but that it is simply another PR mouthpiece.

Anybody working for them who thinks of themselves as journalists should quit immediately, before people can point to their work as PR flaks to discredit them.


Re: Re: Not journalism

It is not PR per se.

Of course it is! Slanted news, bought and paid for, is PR not objectivity. In traditional news orgs, there’s supposed to be a wall protecting the meat (editorial) from the chaff (sales). That’s what makes the meat worth paying for!

Furthermore, who would bite the hand that feeds them?

Real journalists doing real journalism!

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Not journalism

“I am not sure this isn’t a standard clause for many modern outlets”

It undeniably is. It may not always be written in contractual terms (the same effect can be had in much sneakier ways), but the all amounts to the same thing.

It’s also one of the major reasons why there is so little journalism left in US media.


Re: Not journalism

… but that it is simply another PR mouthpiece.

Indeed. Any “tech journal” that didn’t report on the Sony hack debacle would stand out like a sore thumb, but they want us to believe they’re doing journalism? Why would I want to believe anything they say if certain subjects are spiked before they’re even written or researched?

Yoohoo, I’d drop ’em like a hot potato and never return as soon as I learned the truth about them! How many times does this truth need to be learned?!? Morons in marketing are destroying civilization.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not journalism

The way many companies are now, they’d view not showing up for X number days as “theft” and have you arrested for stealing from the company.

I tend to blame that sort of crap on clueless managers (who’re also employees), not corps. Corps have their own unique brand of stupid, and corp policy seldom reaches as far down as line employees (except via policy).


“In negotiations to create a Vice cable channel, Disney and Hearst insisted on a clause protecting the companies in the event that Vice content ’embarrasses Hearst or Disney in any way,'”

This should be known as the Naked Emperor Clause. Everyone knows that it was the little boy’s fault for telling everyone that the emperor was naked, after all.


Oh, as usual, you ‘Muricans are waaaaayyyyy behind Canada:


But don’t feel bad for Mr. Crull: Sprint took one look at what he’d done and said “He’s our kinda guy!”




Does Sprint own any interests such as nation-wide television networks? In other words, win-win! He apologized for being a dumbass, but his new employer expects him to be a dumbass. I’m glad he found his niche, and that niche is far away from journalism and objective news reporting.

Why don’t they teach these people stuff like this in school?

WTF is wrong with Bell Media that they don’t get this?

Nomad of Noradsays:

Too big....

It is things like this that show why we desperately need to force all these mega-companies to divest themselves of all news outfits, and why it is that having all of the major news outlets owned by a tiny handful of companies is an unbelievably horrible idea. Unfortunately, until it is illegal for corporations to dump huge amounts of money into politics, none of this is likely to change. oO

I’m reminded of the fact that ages ago, the government had to step in and declare it absolutely illegal for the movie studios to own ANY movie theaters. They basically forced the studios to divest themselves of all theater chains, declaring by law that theaters had to be totally independent entities from the outfits making the movies that were shown in them. It is VERY long overdue that something like that is done again, by declaring the studios can ONLY OWN studios, and NOT OWN TV stations or networks, and NOT OWN internet services (including ISPs AND including things like VOD services such as Netflix), and absolutely NOT own news services! Period! No exceptions!

Leave a Reply to tqk Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it