Did a recent Today episode recapping the Academy Awards ceremony unwittingly confirm suspicions that NBC owner General Electric really does influence the network’s news? Host Bryant Gumbel asked Today movie critic Gene Shalit about ”the usual social speeches” on the previous night’s Oscar show. In their rundown, though, there wasn’t a mention of the evening’s lollapalooza — when the Oscar for Best Documentary Short was awarded to San Francisco filmmaker Debra Chasnoff for Deadly Deception, a film that alleges reckless release of radiation at GE nuclear-weapons plants.
Applause and gasps greeted Chasnoff’s acceptance speech, which thanked the GE boycott group Infact for helping ”tell the real story about the company that falsely claims it ‘brings good things to life.”’ Her last words, ”Boycott GE!” were reminiscent of a 1990 Today show, when producers asked Todd Putnam, editor of National Boycott News, to talk about then-current boycotts in America but instructed him not to discuss any GE boycott.
A Today spokeswoman denies that anything was avoided on the Oscar recap show.