Variety reported on December 8 that Donald Trump will remain as executive producer of The Celebrity Apprentice when the show returns in 2017. This will mean that NBC will have a fiduciary relationship with the president of the United States, creating an unprecedented conflict of interest for the network.
Having Trump as an executive producer is intolerable.
NBC is now financially invested in Trump's reputation. The network will have an incentive to weigh aggressively reporting about Trump against what they may lose in revenue if Trump's reputation is damaged. Further, imagine the choices they will face if NBC has a blockbuster story about Trump. This is not inconceivable. Remember, NBC is the network that had the hot mic tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault -- but it was The Washington Post, not NBC News, that broke the story.
There is simply no way that citizens can trust the reporting of NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC. Executives have put hard working reporters at these outlets in a completely untenable spot: No amount of disclosure is sufficient when the network is financially invested in the president.
NBC has already demonstrated that we cannot rely on their assurances. Trump's involvement flies in the face of previous statements from the network. In a June 2015 statement, NBC said they were ending their business relationship with Trump because his attacks on immigrants violated the network's belief that "respect and dignity for all people are the cornerstones of our values." At the time, the network reported this, saying "Trump ceased his involvement with the reality show during his presidential bid."
The solution is simple: NBC needs to dump Trump. As long as they have a fiduciary relationship with Trump, this is going to be an insurmountable problem.