This is about as weak as it gets.
Facing criticism over the amount of taxes it pays, General Electric announced it will repay its entire $3.2 billion tax refund to the US Treasury on April 18.
GE uses a series of foreign tax havens that the company says are legal and that led to an enormous refund for the 2010 tax year.
At 10:40 a.m., CNBC called BS on AP:
GE Rebuffs Tax Refund Report as 'Hoax'
General Electric called an earlier media report Wednesday that it would repay a $3.2 billion tax refund to the Treasury Department a "hoax."
Members of an activist group calling themselves the "Yes Men" claimed responsibility for the hoax, according to a report from Reuters.
Earlier Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. conglomerate — using "a series of foreign tax havens" — would repay the "enormous" refund it received for the 2010 tax year.
Shares of GE, which is a minority shareholder in NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC.com, slipped on the AP report.
... "It's a hoax and GE did not receive a refund," said Deirdre Latour, a GE spokeswoman.</p>
... "The "Yes Men" sent the release to draw attention to GE's approach to taxes, according to Andrew Boyd who described himself in a phone interview with Reuters as a member of the group."
The Associated Press mistakenly published a story Wednesday about General Electric Co. that was based on a fake press release.
The fake release said that General Electric, responding to criticism over the amount of taxes it pays, would repay a $3.2 billion tax refund for 2010 to the Treasury Department.
The fake release, which was emailed to the AP, included a GE logo and a link to a website designed to look like GE's website.
The idea that GE would voluntarily pay $3.2 billion in tax it apparently wasn't required to legally pay is so absurd that the legitimacy of the press release upon which the Associated Press relied -- apparently without calling or e-mailing for any kind of authentication (but that logo and fake web site sure looked OK!) -- should have been seriously questioned from the start. But it clearly wasn't.
The AP demonstrates more and more with each passing day that it is not a serious news organization and has inadequate controls to prevent false, misleading, and slanted news from being published. Its subscribing newspapers, radio outlets, and TV stations -- and the American people -- are being poorly served.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.