NY Times reports FedEx paid zero 2018 taxes; outraged CEO challenges publisher to throwdown

(Image: Wikimedia)

The New York Times was unmoved by the “colorful” response of the chairman and CEO of FedEx over a report that the company paid no federal taxes in 2018.

The newspaper stood by its report after FedEx CEO Frederick Smith issued a challenge to its business editor and publisher following the “distorted and factually incorrect” story published on Sunday.

The front-page New York Times story reported that FedEx owed more than $1.5 billion in taxes in 2017 but a year later, that figure had dropped to zero thanks to the President Trump’s tax cut “for which the company had lobbied hard.”

Officials from the Memphis-based delivery company told The Times that FedEx had “paid $2 billion in total federal income taxes over the past 10 years.”

Smith slammed the report later on Sunday in a blistering rebuttal as he issued his challenge, blasting The Times for ignoring the “$6 billion of capital” the company reportedly “invested in the U.S. economy” in 2018.


“I hereby challenge A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times and the business section editor to a public debate in Washington, D.C. with me and the FedEx corporate vice president of tax,” Smith said in a statement.

“Pertinent to this outrageous distortion of the truth is the fact that unlike FedEx, The New York Times paid zero federal income tax in 2017 on earnings of $111 million, and only $30 million in 2018 — 18% of their pretax book income,” Smith argued. “Also in 2018 The New York Times cut their capital investments nearly in half to $57 million, which equates to a rounding error when compared to the $6 billion of capital that FedEx invested in the U.S. economy during that same year.”

Smith’s challenge was to a debate on taxes and “the relative societal benefits of business investments and the enormous intended benefits to the United States economy, especially lower and middle class wage earners.”

But the newspaper was not backing down from its reporting, calling Smith’s debate invite a “stunt.”

“FedEx’s colorful response does not challenge a single fact in our story. We’re confident in the accuracy of our reporting,” New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha told business magazine Fast Company in an email. “FedEx’s invitation is clearly a stunt and an effort to distract from the findings of our story.”

Fox Business’ Charles Payne noted how Smith turned the criticism back on The Times.

“Pot, meet kettle,” the host of “Making Money with Charles Payne” quipped on “Fox & Friends” on Monday, calling out the difference between the newspaper’s reported $118 million invested in the U.S. economy and the $6 billion by FedEx.

(Video: Fox News)

Payne invited the debate to be held on his show, noting how Smith has “always been an economic hero of mine.”

Veteran cable TV news host Greta Van Susteren reacted to the challenge by offering to moderate the debate.

While The New York Times dismissed Smith’s reprimand, plenty of others on social media cheered on the FedEx CEO for dressing down the left-wing publication.


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Frieda Powers


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