UPDATE: Comcast Censors Critical Nightline Story

When Consumerist readers and users of Comcast’s tv-over-internet service watched our clip on Nightline, they were surprised to see that Comcast appeared to censor out a part that was critical of the cable operator. Whither the Sleepy Comcast Tech? We pointed this out to the segment’s producer. 50 minutes later, we got this email from Comcast Corporate Communications:

We noticed your most recent post on the Consumerist about the Nightline segment and wanted to clear up the facts. Comcast receives thousands of news segments from ABC for our comcast.net site and has not edited any of those segments, including Friday night’s episode about blogs. We post the segments as we receive them directly from ABC and Nightline.

We have called our contact at ABC and the producer of your segment and they told us that they believe that their encoder may have inadvertently shortened the segment at the commercial break in error. We asked them to re-encode the entire segment, which they agreed to do. We will post the entire segment on Comcast.net as soon as we receive it.

If this is true, it’s strange then that the cut happens several seconds before the commercial and then we cut into a story that followed right after the rest of the consumer piece…

We don’t know who encodes who, but we don’t think episode producers actually have much to do with that process. Therefore, we find it odd that Comcast would declare the ABC producer affirmatively said it was an ABC encoder problem that cause the cut. Either way you slice it, it’s certainly terribly convenient for Comcast.


Comcast Censors Critical Nightline Story
Comcast Censored Nightline. Help Us Nail ‘Em.

UPDATE: ABC said they confim it was an editing error on their part. If so, the gaffe should be seen at any of their ABC News Now vendors, which include which include AOL, Bellsouth, SBC/Yahoo and Verizon. We’re still working on scanning and uploading the AOL manual, so if any readers want to go and try and corroborate with snagged video clips and send them to us, that would be awesome.

UPDATE: Comcast says the feed has been repaired and can be seen on their site here (requires subscription). They also say the problem was replicated for all their outlets, not just Comcast. Without any other verification available at this time, we’ll have to take their word for it. No complaints were heard from users of the four other services.