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Furious CEO Challenges New York Times Publisher To Debate Over 'Outrageous Distortion of Truth'

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The CEO of FedEx is hitting back after The New York Times published an article on Sunday claiming his company “has not made good on its promised investment surge.”

Frederick W. Smith, the company’s CEO and chairman, called The Times’ story “distorted and factually incorrect” in a statement.

He also called on The Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, as well as the paper’s business section editor, to debate him and the FedEx corporate vice president of tax on corporate investments and federal tax policy.

Sunday’s article was a retrospective chronicling the “windfall” that President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts gave FedEx and the company’s response to its savings.

The Times quoted Smith in its story, citing an August 2017 interview in which the executive spoke favorably of corporate tax cuts.

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“If you make the United States a better place to invest, there is no question in my mind that we would see a renaissance of capital investment,” he said just months before Trump signed the bill into law.

The Times reported that the tax cuts have already saved FedEx $1.6 billion.

Furthermore, the company’s financial filings revealed that “it owed no taxes in the 2018 fiscal year overall.”

FedEx brought “its effective tax rate from 34 percent in fiscal year 2017 to less than zero in fiscal year 2018, meaning that, overall, the government technically owed it money,” the paper reported.

Do you think The Times' reporting on FedEx was hypocritical?

But f0llowing the massive cuts, FedEx did not invest — despite Smith’s 2017 comments.

While the CEO did not cite any figures for the company’s investments in his statement, he did reference FedEx’s “billions of dollars of investments in the U.S. economy.”

He called The Times’ coverage an “outrageous distortion of the truth” and claimed the paper “paid zero federal income tax in 2017 on earnings of $111 million.”

“In 2018 the New York Times cut their capital investments nearly in half to $57 million,” Smith went on, “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.”

He then challenged Sulzberger to a debate.

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“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,” he said.

“I look forward to promptly hearing from Mr. Sulzberger and scheduling this open event to bring further public awareness of the facts related to these important issues.”

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