Did Comcast really censor the 'Sleepy Repairman' video from 'Nightline'?

Last Friday, ABC's "Nightline" aired a segment about consumers who use Internet video to make humorous jabs at corporations' shortfalls, featuring (among others) a YouTube video of a Comcast technician who was caught . But when the "Nightline" segment was posted to Comcast's own TV-over-Internet service, the "Sleepy Repairman" clip was cut out entirely.

This spawned the Gawker-owned blog Consumerist, whose motto is "Shoppers Bite Back," to speculate that the cable giant intentionally censored the embarrassing video, spawning plenty of snarky "evil corporation" commentary as well as a few Ted Stevens jokes ("The tube was filled up").

Comcast spokesperson Jennifer Khoury denies that any kind of censorship took place. Instead, she says, someone at ABC had inadvertently made a mistake while encoding the "Nightline" segment, cutting it off at the beginning of the Comcast-related part instead of at the commercial break that would come a minute or so later. "Comcast receives thousands of news segments from ABC for the Comcast.net Web site, and has not edited any of those segments, including Friday night's 'Nightline' episode about blogs. We post the segments as we receive them directly from ABC and 'Nightline,'" Khoury says.

She added that ABC has agreed to re-encode the segment and that the corrected version--complete with snoozing technician--will be posted to Comcast's TV-over-Internet site as soon as it is received.

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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