CBS News Pres: No more checkbook journalism 

Jeff Fager takes CBS out of future bidding wars for "big gets."

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An important line-in-the-sand moment occurred on Aug. 3 at the Television Critics Association meet-and-greet soiree in Los Angeles.

The big news came from ... wait for it ... CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager. The man who has been holding his network's news division together with chewing gum and baling wire in the shadow of dismal ratings said he was taking CBS out of future bidding wars for "big gets."

Citing recent accusations that ABC paid $200,000 for home movies of Casey Anthony and paid a woman who "sexted" photos to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, Fager said enough was enough.

"I don't like that one bit," Fager told TV reporters. "I think it's a terrible practice. For our organization, it goes against everything we believe in."

Fager should know that his own network paid six figures to Richard Nixon's White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman for an exclusive 60 Minutes interview in 1975. NBC signed million-dollar contracts with Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger to serve as "exclusive adviser/consultants" in news specials. And the O.J. Simpson saga dragged out the worst of the worst, paying practically everybody for "exclusives."

But kudos to Fager for saying, "We won't do it. I'm just against it for our organization." Let's hope he feels the same way the next time he gets "scooped."

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