updated 10:00 am EDT, Wed April 20, 2005
Apple buying \'news\'?
Apple and other companies paid NBC Today show tech editor Corey Greenberg up to $15,000 to talk about their products on news shows, according to The Washington Post. Greenberg talked up Apple's iPod last July, calling it "a great portable musical player... the coolest-looking one;" however, while NBC officials denied any knowledge of the financial relationship, Greenberg confirmed that he , Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Seiko Epson, Creative Technology and Energizer Holdings. He, however, said that he didn't accept payments for placements on NBC News, but on affiliate news shows, the manufacturers hired him as "a spokesperson who could talk credibly and understandably about consumer products," rather than to speak positively about their products. Ironically, during last July's Today appearance, Greenberg was cut off by a co-host Matt Lauer who said "Let's cut the Apple commercial here right now, okay?"
The report says that Greenberg also appeared last month on Sunday Today to talk about Apple's iPhoto book printing service and that he has also appeared several times on CNBC, where he talked about Apple and Creative music products as well as Apple's iPod Photo. A CNBC spokeswoman said that the policies have been tightened that in the future editors would not allowed to talk about products/companies from whom they were receiving payments.
Despite the potential for abuse and/or a conflict of interest, at least one NBC executive seemed to acknowledge the financiaal relationships as commonplace: "This is a way of doing business for these people," said one NBC official who declined to be identified because the network would not let executives talk to the media. "It's hard to find a contributor who doesn't have a connection to one of these things."