Wal-Mart has received lots of criticism in the last few years. Its critics point out that the company pays poverty wages, covers only about half of its employees with health insurance, and tends to destroy small businesses and towns. Wal-Mart seems to be the prime example of a corporation completely devoid of social responsibility.
The company has received so much bad publicity and so little good, that many were surprised when a couple of web sites popped up saying only good things about Wal-Mart. The first was a web site called Working Families for Wal-Mart. This was supposed to be a "grassroots organization" that praised Wal-Mart for its contributions to working families. This site even spawned a couple of blogs extolling the many virtues of Wal-Mart.
Now we learn from Wal-Mart Watch that the site and its blogs are fake. Working Families for Wal-Mart is totally the creation of Wal-Mart's public relations firm, Edelman Worldwide, as are the blogs that it spawned. I guess Wal-Mart decided that if they couldn't find anyone to say nice things about the company, they would just pay someone to do it.
Perhaps even worse was another blog called Wal-Marting Across America. The blog was purportedly written by a couple, Jim and Laura, who were traveling in an RV across America. They would park their RV in Wal-Mart parking lots and write about their experiences at the different Wal-Marts. According to this couple, no one could be happier than a Wal-Mart employee.
Of course, this blog turned out to be fake also. The Jim on the blog turned out to be James Thresher, a Washington Post photographer and freelance writer. He was being paid by Edelman Worldwide to say the nice things about Wal-Mart.
So the next time you hear someone on TV or on a blog saying how wonderful Wal-Mart is, the first question to ask is "How much were they paid?"