It has been something that there have been rumblings about, but no one has really put the x's and o's together entirely - that General Electric (NYSE:GE) is using its media arm, NBC Universal to promote President Barack Obama's so-called progressive agenda for its own financial gain.
However, as just previewed by Amy Ridenour, Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly attempted to do so at the top of his April 23 "The O'Reilly Factor" broadcast during his "Talking Points Memo" segment. O'Reilly outlined how Obama has gotten support from the NBC networks both pre-election and post-election.
"Will General Electric get paid for supporting President Obama - that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo," O'Reilly said. "As everybody knows, GE, which owns NBC has been very aggressive in helping Barack Obama - first supporting the president in the election and now attacking his critics."
O'Reilly pointed to the change in tone at CNBC as a specific example. Certain on-air CNBC personalities had been outspoken in criticizing Obama's economic policies. However, that has changed somewhat and according to O'Reilly, CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli - the inspiration for the recent Tax Day tea party protests - had said he had been sent to a "reeducation camp."
"There is also emerging evidence that GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC News chief Jeff Zucker told CNBC personnel to stop criticizing Obama's economic policies," O'Reilly said. "Now, that would be a major breach of journalistic ethics. In fact, Obama critic Rick Santelli is reported to have said he was sent to a quote, ‘reeducation camp,' by NBC. In addition, the hateful MSNBC network continues to air vicious attacks every day."
O'Reilly played a clip from MSNBC' "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on April 16, when Janeane Garofalo, in a hateful tirade, called Tax Day tea party protest participants "nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks."
"Well, this week Jeff Immelt met with GE stockholders in Florida and there was near revolt," O'Reilly continued. "That's no surprise, as also this week Forbes magazine labeled Immelt one of the worst-performing CEOs in the country."
O'Reilly also played the exchange between his producer Jesse Watters and Jeffrey Immelt at the April 22 shareholders' meeting, where he questioned the ethics of MSNBC. But, according to O'Reilly there is reason to believe the slant of MSNBC is allowed because GE stands to profit if Obama is successful in instituting his priorities, specifically cap-and-trade.
"Now, most CEOs would have stopped NBC's corruption a long time ago, but Immelt may be looking for a major payoff," O'Reilly said. "According to reporting by the Washington Examiner, GE is heavily lobbying the Obama administration for bailout money. The company is also pushing for the proposed cap-and-trade program. Apparently GE has set up a joint venture it hopes would manage billions of dollars in cap-and-trade transactions should that corporate carbon tax pass Congress."
NBC has been actively promoting green issues and this revelation by O'Reilly happens to fall during the NBC Universal networks "Green is Universal" week.
"Now think about this ladies and gentlemen - a failing corporation, General Electric might reap billions of dollars if the Feds OK the carbon deal," O'Reilly said. "By the way, GE is already getting taxpayer bailout money for its financial unit. So it's not a stretch to assume Immelt would want to help President Obama as much as possible."
According to O'Reilly, the level of corruption is so big, it stands to make Watergate look small.
"This is obviously a major story - when a powerful corporation, which controls a major part of the American media, may be using its power and the airwaves to influence politics, in order to make money from government contracts," O'Reilly said. "That kind of corruption would make Watergate look small. We hope it is not true."