Thursday, April 23, 2009

GE CEO Immelt Gets Caught in Ratings War Crossfire

Outside, protesters representing FreedomWorks, an activist group led by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, milled about bedecked in Mom Jeans and carrying "Just Say No to Cap 'n' Trade" placards.

Inside, at the already tense GE shareholder meeting, the eternal ratings feud amped up another notch when O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters ambushed beleaguered General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt with accusations that Keith Olbermann allowed Janeane Garofalo to spew hate speech against Republicans on the MSNBC network, whose parent company, NBC-Uni, is a division of GE. Both Watter's employment by and Garofalo's direct attacks on Fox News went unremarked. Olbermann later happily fanned the flames by naming Watters in his Worst Person in the World segment (jump to 2:01).

"My biggest surprise was the open hostility to MSNBC," said GE shareholder Tom Borelli of the Free Enterprise Action Fund as he pushed his online petition in support of his four-year crusade against Immelt. "Any time MSNBC was mentioned, there was a rumbling in the crowd of 400 people," he added helpfully.

So Much Drama. Next time GE has a shareholder's meeting I'm going to smuggle in my cell and post live video. I'm a bondholder. That should get me in.

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