NBC Refused to Disclose Stake in BuzzFeed During Coverage of Shoddy Cohen Piece

Amidst the appalling and loathsome coverage of the Covington Catholic High School students, the liberal media are in the midst of a damaging week for their credibility when one includes the now-debunked BuzzFeed News story that news outlets were quick to promote. 

For NBC News in particular, the story is even more damaging when noting the fact that at zero point in their 17 minutes and 32 seconds of coverage on their morning and evening newscasts about BuzzFeed did the network disclose the hundreds of millions of dollars its invested in the online outlet.

NBC News’s parent company NBCUniversal announced an initial investment of $200 million in BuzzFeed on August 18, 2015. BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti wrote that the deal was one of many that aimed to “to assure BuzzFeed's continued editorial and creative independence.”

“Equally important, the investment from NBCU and our rapidly growing revenue assures our financial independence, allowing us to grow and invest without pressure to chase short-term revenue or rush an IPO. Our independence and a long-term focus align us with our readers and viewers and help us deliver the best possible service for our audience,” he added.

Then-NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was equally giddy about the move, gushing that “BuzzFeed has built an exceptional global company that harmonizes technology, data and superior editorial abilities to create and share content in innovative ways” that’s led to it becoming “among the most creative, popular and influential new media players.”

Wow. That sounds like something that would be worth sharing and disclosing to viewers! After all, journalists are leaders in advocating for transparency....right? Guess not for NBC, whether it’s their BuzzFeed investment down to Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd refusing to publicly acknowledge on air the work his wife’s consulting firm did for Bernie Sanders.

But wait, there’s more! A year later in November 2016, NBCUniversal doubled their investment, upping their stake in BuzzFeed to $400 million. 

Here’s what Reuters reported at the time on November 21 (click “expand”):

Online media company BuzzFeed, best known for its list-based articles and quizzes, said Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) NBCUniversal had invested an additional $200 million in the company.

NBCU parent Comcast has pumped heavily into digital-native companies such as BuzzFeed and Vox Media, partly in an effort to better service existing advertisers. The new investment, which gives BuzzFeed a valuation of around $1.7 billion, ups NBCU’s stake to $400 million, following an initial $200 million investment last summer. NBCU also invested $200 million into Vox Media.

NBCU will take a larger role in selling ads for BuzzFeed with the ability to incorporate BuzzFeed’s inventory into its deals with advertisers; BuzzFeed will also have the same option to sell space on NBCU’s inventory to its advertisers.

Early Saturday morning, NewsBusters reported that NBC’s NBC Nightly News and Today spent 10 minutes and five seconds on the BuzzFeed story before it was debunked by the Office of the Special Counsel. Since that initial report, Saturday’s NBC Nightly News and Today combined for an additional six minutes and 35 seconds of coverage.

Neither newscast covered it on Sunday (though BuzzFeed was a dominant theme on Meet the Press), but BuzzFeed came back the following day with two nods on Monday’s Today for a total of 52 seconds.

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