Apr
01
2011

NBC Viewers Finally Learn About GE's Tax-Dodging–Sort Of

There's been plenty of talk about NBC's decision to skip the news about General Electric's ability to make huge profits and pay zero taxes. Now, it's possible that everyoneat NBC misplaced theircopies of the March 25 New York Times, but the GE story finally made it to the NBC Nightly News yesterday–in a report that was basically a chance for GE boss Jeffrey Immelt, whose company owns nearly half the network, to try and rebut the story.

Anchor Brian Williams started off by saying this:

The news is still reverberating this week after last week's page-one story in the New York Times….

Now, that is a weird way to describe something you've never told your viewers.

Correspondent Lisa Myers went on to explain that this has created an "uproar," with "liberal groups" up in arms over GE's tax avoidance. She adds:

Well, today Immelt defended GE, saying taxes were unusually low in the last two years because of losses during the financial crisis.

She went on:

Immelt says that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes, including GE, and that the corporate tax code needs to be reformed to make it more competitive and eliminate loopholes. Also, Brian, Immelt says he does not intend to resign from the president's council on jobs.

"More competitive" here means that corporate tax rates should be lower–yes, Immelt is arguing that the fact that GE pays no taxes is a reason to lower its tax rate.

So NBC went from avoiding the news to presenting aone-sideddefense of the company, courtesy of the boss. It must be nice to own a TV network.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.