The Washington Post reported today that NBC News conveniently decided not to report on a story that parent company General Electric avoided paying taxes on its income last year.
During its Friday broadcast, “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” had no time to mention that America’s largest corporation had essentially avoided paying federal taxes in 2010. Or its Saturday, Sunday or Monday broadcasts, either.
Did NBC’s silence have anything to do with the fact that one of its parent companies is General Electric?
NBC News representatives say that it didn’t. “This was a straightforward editorial decision, the kind we make daily around here,” said Lauren Kapp, spokeswoman for NBC News. Kapp declined to discuss how NBC decides what’s news or, in this case, what isn’t.
And apparently the New York Times story wasn’t news but according to the Post though the Nightly News editors thought that a segment on the Oxford English Dictionary which was parodied by The Daily Show adding the words “muffin top” and “OMG” were.
Well I guess if I was 25 or 30-years old I might think that the dictionary story was more important about the tax issue but by omitting the story entirely it just makes it appear that NBC is covering up the news to protect the parent company from further criticism and scrutiny.
The fact that GE CEO Jeff Immelt sits on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory board and is been buddy-buddy with Obama only raises further suspicion the GE has something to hide.
This was not welcome news for Obama who has paraded Immelt around as a CEO who understands what he is trying to accomplish both economically and with the environment.
When asked at a White House press briefing whether or not the president was bothered by the revelations about GE, spokesman Jay Carney responded that “he is bothered by what I think you’re getting at, which is that Americans, I’m sure, who read that story or heard about it are wondering, you know — you know, how this could be.”
I’ll leave the issue of whether or not GE manipulated the tax system or played by the rules for another day, but there is no doubt that NBC dropped the ball by not reporting the story at all and making the story even bigger than it was than when the Times first reported it.