Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More On Wal-Mart, Bloggers & The New York Times

From Don’t Go Into The Light, a story of another blogger who got story tips and leads from Marshall Manson, the Edelman PR executive who cultivates sympathetic bloggers on behalf of Wal-Mart.

The same is true with Iowa Voice, which also has an account of getting information from Manson.

And also with RedState.

And finally, Outside the Beltway.

The story always seems to be the same as ours.

Manson identifies blogs that have a favorable view of Wal-Mart (or at least an unfavorable view of the leftist activists that hate the huge retailer), and passes information and story leads along to them.

Which, or course, it no different from the process that gets New York Times reporters story leads and information. But they are more likely to get the information from sources on the left.

The following are bloggers who have gotten material from Wal-Mart. All tell how the process unfolded, and what use they made of the material.


And also On the Borderline.

And also On Tap, a blog at which Marshall Manson is a poster. Cam Edwards says:
Let me first say that I am absolutely appalled that an employee of a public relations firm would engage in such shameless… public relations. I mean, clearly there was a threat implied in Marshall sending out interesting news stories to an audience that had written about Wal-Mart in the past. If these bloggers didn’t bow to the whim of the mighty Wal-Mart, those low prices might have falled like a guillotine on their pajama-clad necks. These poor bloggers were pressured to write about Wal-Mart, otherwise the ghost of Sam Walton would have haunted their dreams (or something).

[Further Update]

And the Bookkeeper. Bookkeeper notes (in apparent reference to his own blog) “The weirdest twist of all? The conspiracy includes a blogger who has all of five readers. . . .”

[And Yet More]

Add Marathon Pundit to the list.

And now also Crazy Politico’s Rantings. Crazy Politico wonders whether his name will become mud for cooperating with Michael Barbaro and giving him information for the Times story. It’s true that, for most conservative bloggers, cooperating with the Times is way more suspect than cooperating with Wal-Mart!

Add Say Anything.

And Sensible Mom. She gives some interesting insight into the questioning she got from Barbaro:
He asked if it bothered me to be contacted by Edelman; if I bristled at them contacting me. I said that I wasn’t bothered by it nor was I influenced by them. I stated that I receive e-mails from other bloggers and readers all the time with links to stories they think I might be interested in.

He asked if I should’ve acknowledged that I received an e-mail tip from Manson in my post about Lee’s Garage like they reveal their sources in their articles [at that point, I snickered to myself since they often publish information from anonymous sources].

[Still More]

Add Jenna at Right Off the Shore.

Add Pajama Jihad.

[In the Wake of the Times article]

Pundit Guy

BrothersJudd Blog

The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid

Arkansas Family Coalition

[They Keep Coming]

JackLewis.net. “Lewis” (Danny Carlton) writes:

I got an email, too. Mine was in response to my post Wal-Mart vs. Big Brother Liberals. I write back and pointed out that I don’t always write favorably about Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart bans Christmas?!?) and was told...
I’m glad to hear that you’ll continue to hold Wal-Mart’s feet to the fire when it deserves it. We’re not looking for (or expecting) preferential treatment. Just a fair shake. But getting a fair shake – as you can imagine – is often pretty tough.
That sounds pretty tolerant, and probably Marshall Manson (who ran the campaign) is tolerant. But it’s worth pointing out that he had no choice. He is the supplicant. The rag tag band of bloggers on his mailing list write anything they want to write. So like any PR guy, he has to persuade, cajole, supply worthwhile information (the currency of the PR game) and hope for some favorable articles to appear.

He certainly hasn’t in any way corrupted the blogosphere. And the campaign itself isn’t corrupt unless you think that all public relations is corrupt -- which some people do. But selective outrage at Wal-Mart is absurd.


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