Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drama at GE shareholders meeting

Attendees who spoke to THR said shareholders asked about 10 politically charged questions concerning MSNBC as well as one about CNBC.

First up was a woman asking about a reported meeting in which Immelt and NBC Uni CEO Jeff Zucker supposedly told top CNBC executives and talent to be less critical of President Obama and his policies.

Immelt acknowledged a meeting took place but said no one at CNBC was told what to say or not to say about politics.

During the woman's follow-up question, her microphone was apparently cut off. A short time later, Waters asked a question and his mic was cut, too.

"The crowd was very upset with MSNBC because of its leftward tilt," one attendee said. "Some former employees said they were embarrassed by it."

When he got the floor, Waters focused his question about MSNBC on Olbermann's interview of actress Janeane Garofalo, who likened conservatives to racists and spoke of "the limbic brain inside a right-winger."

"He (Waters) was complaining that Olbermann didn't bother to challenge her," another GE shareholder said.

Immelt told the assembled he takes a hands-off approach to what is reported on the company's news networks, which prompted a shareholder to criticize him for not managing NBC Uni more effectively.