Fox News mounts "assault" on GE

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Bill O'Reilly, who hosts a show on U.S. news channel Fox News, is mounting an "extraordinary televised assault" on Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, the Washington Post reported on its Web site.

On the surface, O'Reilly's charges revolve around GE's history of doing business with Iran, the newspaper reported.

But the attacks grow out of "an increasingly bitter feud between O'Reilly and the company's high-profile subsidiary, NBC," it said.

A spokeswoman for Fox News, a unit of News Corp, declined comment.

GE said it put out a statement on its Web site in April saying that GE and its board decided in 2005 that it would no longer do business in Iran because of developing conditions in that country and concerns expressed by shareholders.

"The exceptions were to run down existing contracts and humanitarian activity authorized by U.S. Government licenses," GE said. "Since then, GE has done everything it said it would do in 2005. Today, GE has very little business left in Iran and will have completed all business in Iran by the end of June."

The statement said at all times GE's policy was "fully compliant with U.S. and all applicable laws".

"Recently, a Fox News personality in the U.S. has been attacking GE for this work and has been misleading viewers about our company," the GE statement said. "GE employees should know the facts - GE has met every pledge it made about this issue. These attacks from Fox arise from its ratings battle with MSNBC."

O'Reilly and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann have engaged in an increasingly nasty battle in the past few years, with O'Reilly often appearing in Olbermann's nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment.

While O'Reilly continues to have higher ratings than Olbermann, the MSNBC host has started to cut into his lead during the Presidential campaign.


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