Around the time GE’s Jeffrey Immelt decided it was the right time to sell a controlling interest in NBCU, he was also meeting with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes trying to broker a ceasefire between Ailes’ network and MSNBC. As the NYTimes reported yesterday, the Comcast deal came to pass this summer during the Allen & Company media summit:
The secret meeting was set for an early July afternoon in a condominium along the ninth hole of a golf course in Sun Valley, Idaho. Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, arrived first, taking care to avoid being spotted by his own employee, Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, who was mingling with other executives nearby.
This summer also saw the culmination of a year’s worth of work trying to tamp down the verbal war between Fox News and MSNBC opinion hosts. As TVNewser reported in early August:
Then, earlier this year, a high level representative from GE, fearing another leak, reached out to a senior executive at Fox News. Sources say this led to a series of direct confidential conversations between the GE Chairman Immelt and Fox News chairman Ailes, which continued well into June. These conversations were kept confidential until today. An agreement was made to end all personal attacks.
During the town hall yesterday at 30 Rock, Immelt brought up the FNC-MSNBC storyline as it pertained to him. As reported by MediaDecoder’s Brian Stelter Immelt said about the timing of the Comcast deal: “There’s never a right or wrong time. It’s not like you’re walking down the street one day and have a sudden epiphany, ‘Ah, now is the time.’ You had a particularly tough time with Bill O’Reilly the night before – ‘I can’t take it any more. Let’s go!’ It’s just not the way these things work.”