Blackmun OKs CBS’ ’48 Hours’ footage

CBS television won an emergency order from a Supreme Court justice Wednesday allowing it to use hidden-camera footage of a meat-packing plant in a report on tainted beef.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun lifted a South Dakota judge’s ruling that had barred the network from using the videotape on Wednesday’s episode of “48 Hours.”

“For many years it has been clearly established that any prior restraint on expression comes to this court with a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity,” Blackmun wrote.

CBS wanted to use the footage taken inside the Federal Beef Processors plant in Rapid City, S.D., as part of a report on contaminated beef on “48 Hours” Wednesday. The tape was taken by a plant employee with a hidden camera.

The meat-packing company contended CBS got the videotape illegally and that broadcasting it could irreparably harm the company’s reputation.

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