Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wal-Mart, Where it's Always Image Control. Always

The New York Times ran a story yesterday about Wal-Mart spreading their talking points around the internet through largely conservative blogs. They seem to Target blogs that are based in states that take on the giant corporation. The New York Times obtained the Wal-Mart talking points and compared them to posts by bloggers all over the country. In some cases the talking points were simply cut and pasted without citing where the information was obtained.

One of our very own conservative Wisconsin bloggers was mentioned in the story. Marquette University professor and resident music critic John McAdams was mentioned as a Wal-Mart cheerleader (on page 2 & you may have to register).

John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette University who runs the Marquette Warrior blog, recently posted three links about union activity in the same order as he received them from Mr. Manson. Mr. McAdams acknowledged that he worked from Wal-Mart's links and that he did not disclose his contact with Mr. Manson.

"I usually do not reveal where I get a tip or a lead on a story," he said, adding that journalists often do not disclose where they get ideas for stories either.

I am not going to make any judgment on McAdams use of the Wal-Mart talking points since I have not read the post referred to in the Times story. If he was simply using informative and independently sourced links, then I would have no problems. If he was simply repeating Wal-Mart propaganda from a company source, then I would have a problem with the post.

I have an idea! Let’s put him under blanket surveillance! If we find him taking secret trips to Bentonville Arkansas or suddenly getting complimentary toasters behind his area Wal-Mart, then we’ll know he’s on the take. If not, then I’ll assume what he posted was actually his own opinion.

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