FedEx CEO Calls Out New York Times for ‘Distorted’ Reporting

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FedEx CEO Fred Smith slammed the New York Times over a story about his company's tax bill in a statement released Sunday night.

"The New York Times published a distorted and factually incorrect story on the front page of the Sunday, November 17 edition concerning FedEx and our billions of dollars of tax payments and billions of dollars of investments in the U.S. economy," Smith said in the statement.

The Times claimed that FedEx did not have to pay any federal taxes in 2018, and that the company's capital investments were less than projected, despite President Donald Trump's tax cuts. The company spent $240 million less than it had projected, according to the Times.

Smith did not specify what the Times report had gotten wrong, but he did call out the newspaper for its apparent financial hypocrisy.

"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 said. "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 also challenged New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger and the paper's business editor to a public debate.

"The focus of the debate should be federal tax policy 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," Smith said.

The Times responded Monday morning by dismissing Smith's attack.

"FedEx's colorful response does not challenge a single fact in our story. We're confident in the accuracy of our reporting," a Times spokeswoman told Fast Company. "FedEx's invitation is clearly a stunt and an effort to distract from the findings of our story."