“Product placement” on CNN?

CNN cofounder Reese Schonfeld has scolded CNN officials following a report in the New York Daily News that CNN producers had been instructed to carry the opening and closing of the NASDAQ live every day. The instructions, in the form of a memo from network president Jim Walton to CNN General Manager Sid Bedingfield, were reportedly issued during the same week that CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson and sales chief Larry Goodman had been scheduled to meet with NASDAQ, a large advertiser on CNN. “Larry wants to take a tape with him showing them how we cover the opening and closing of the markets,” the memo said. Commented Schonfeld: “It sure looks as if Walter was demanding that CNN editorial content include a bit of ‘product placement’ on behalf of NASDAQ. Maybe that’s what you used to do at Time magazine, Walter, but we don’t do that in television.” On Thursday, Isaacson reportedly sent a follow-up note to staffers saying that they were under no obligation to cover the open and close of the NASDAQ, and he told a news conference that the first directive was “a mistake.”