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GE backing Bartiromo

Receives support from Zucker, Immelt

In her attempt to live down the pseudo-scandal of her relationship with an ex-Citigroup exec, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo is getting support from people in high places.

From the start, CNBC has said the tale of the “Money Honey,” a corporate jet and Todd Thompson, former chief exec of Citigroup’s $1.4 trillion wealth-management unit, was all froth and innuendo.

But since the day the story of Thompson’s firing, in part due to his relationship with Bartiromo, hit page one of the Wall Street Journal, it has reverberated to the highest levels of NBC Universal — not to mention GE. Indeed, GE topper Jeffrey Immelt, who was traveling in the Middle East at the time, was apprised of an internal review conducted by CNBC brass. “We completed a review,” Immelt said Thursday. “Substantially, I don’t think she did anything wrong.”

Moreover, Immelt said he supports Bartiromo’s jet-setting and speaking at corporate events. “We encouraged her to do (the trips) to build the brand,” he said. “I support Maria and I support CNBC.”

Immelt’s remarks came after newly appointed NBC U chief Jeff Zucker told Daily Variety that Bartiromo “did nothing wrong” and said the story is being perpetuated by those “jealous of her success.”

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