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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is OUR problem

The Wal Mart blogging scandal has picked up

Wal-Mart's Blogging Blunder

By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
March 7, 2006

Despite the idea that bloggers' independence from the "mainstream media" can offer a broader perspective on the news, or even break important stories, most of us know bloggers need to be watched, too. A New York Times article has underlined that idea, exposing Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT) efforts to use bloggers to improve its public image. Some of these bloggers have not handled the situation responsibly, and that's a big mistake for everybody involved.

The article centers on Brian Pickrell, who created a blog post condemning state legislation to require Wal-Mart to spend more on employee health care. Presenting such an opinion is fine -- there's nothing wrong with thinking the legislation might be a bad idea -- but the post apparently consisted of a whole lot of information, some of it verbatim, that had been fed to the blogger by an employee of Wal-Mart public relations firm Edelman.

Indeed, as Wal-Mart tries to head off the barrage of criticism it often faces, it has begun strategically feeding "news stories" -- consisting of positive press about its business practices -- to the blog community. The New York Times article pointed out that the company tantalizes pro-Wal-Mart bloggers with "exclusive" information as well. (Some bloggers do disclose where they're getting this information.)

....................But I can't understand why some bloggers would fail to identify where they got their information, especially when it clearly seems to have colored their opinions.


Wal-Mart's strategy to repair its public image through the blogosphere has resoundingly backfired. News like this makes the company sound sneaky and underhanded, out to launch the equivalent of a corporate propaganda campaign, which of course fires up Wal-Mart's detractors even more. Meanwhile, bloggers who don't disclose their relationships with certain entities or individuals lose a heck of a lot of credibility, tarring the entire blogosphere by association, and making blogs seem that much less reliable as a source of information.

The way I see it, lies of omission are cop-outs. Honesty makes for good ethics and good business.

The fact is that our right wing blogger friends think that they can be loyal minions of their patrons and still be credible.

I could care less about the pathetic defenses Glenn Reynolds throws up, as described by a regular commentor of mine at the News Blog

You know...I had a feeling something big was about to hit on this subject almost a week ago (before teh story broke) when the Inbred-pundit cryptically leaked this for the mention of the name of the beneficiary--WalMart. On March 3rd, the shifty little twerp wrote this:

MARCH 03, 2006

PR AND BLOGGER ETHICS: I talked to a reporter about blogs and PR -- I won't spoil the story, but the gist is that some PR people have been sending stuff to bloggers, and some bloggers have apparently reprinted some of it without attribution.

Of course, he conveniently left out who the big company was that had their stuff run--and it's quite the coincidence that that company--Walmart, is a company he goes waaaaaaay out of his way to champion in his "blog" from time to time. Which is whenever something negative about them finds its way into the press. Of note is how this was also probably his semi-surreptitious way of saying to his peers on the right (and somehow, I'm guessing that beyond the execrable now Andrew Young, the vast, vast bulk of those shilling for the Waltons were wingers), "Cheese it! It's a RAID!", so they could try to get out in front of the story. It failed...but in hindsight, it is awfully funny to see how he tried to get his bunch out in front of the scandal he knew was gonna blow up in their faces.

Oddly enough, as he's generally known for short blips, links and nattering "hehs" and "indeeds" after a sentence or two, a crawl over to his little slime pit (I ain't linkin') shows that post as being damn near Tolstoy-esque in length for him--with updates, quotes and paragraaph after paragraph of futile *ss-covering.

He seemed a little defensive, wouldn't you say?

You bet he's defensive, because he's just wrong. It's a gross breech of ethics to take Wally World press releases and not say what they are. They're so used to sucking up to daddy that they don't even realize when it will be against their own interests.

Oh yeah, I'm filling in for the owners as they go to SF for something or other. This is a revised article originally posted on our site, the News Blog.