NBC News Coverage of Walmart, Pepsi Fails to Disclose Exec Cesar Conde Serves on Their Boards

In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 photo, Cesar Conde speaks about the Fusion tv network during a tour of the facilities in Miami. Conde, NBC Universal's News Group's chairman has set a bold goal of having a workforce at NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC that is 50 percent minority, and …
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

A new report has brought attention to NBC News failing to disclose that its Chairman Cesar Conde serves on the boards of multinational corporations Pepsi and Walmart when reporting on those companies.

The Wall Street Journal, in a profile of Conde published Monday, noted the fact that the NBC executive — who took on his role in May 2020 — is also a board member for the publicly traded companies PepsiCo Inc. and Walmart Inc. He joined the former board in 2016 and the latter in 2019.

When the Journal raised the question of potential conflicts of interest, an NBCUniversal spokesman responded, “Mr. Conde would recuse himself from weighing in on stories involving Walmart and Pepsi.”

However, the statement does not make any mention of disclosing the executive’s position at these corporations in said coverage. Fox News points out that NBC News has run several positive or even flattering stories about the businesses recently:

NBC News has run stories on its website offering a more favorable view of the big box store with headlines in February reading, “Walmart to hike wages for 425,000 workers to average above $15 an hour” and “Walmart steps up to vaccine fight in small town America.”

Additionally, NBC’s “Today” has repeatedly put a spotlight on new flavors released by Pepsi including “Apple Pie” Pepsi in November, “Cocoa” Pepsi in December,” and most recently, the Peeps-flavored Pepsi in March.

None of these stories highlighted by Fox disclose Conde’s links to either company. Several more stories reviewed by Breitbart News similarly do not mention Conde’s position on their boards:

“Beyond Meat, PepsiCo team up to sell plant-based snacks and drinks” — Amelia Lucas, CNBC

“Doritos is bringing back its iconic ’90s snack: 3D Crunch” — Erica Chayes Wida, TODAY

“CEO of Walmart US talks about providing vaccines for customers and employees”TODAY

“U.S. sues Walmart, accusing it of fueling opioid crisis” — Leticia Miranda and Pete Williams, NBC News

The WSJ report says Conde is responsible for MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC News, including programs such as the Rachel Maddow Show to NBC’s Nightly News.  The report characterizes him as a hands-on boss who cultivates close “relationships with talent” by “meeting with anchors such as Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough over meals to exchange views on the direction of the network.”

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