NY Times Makes Wal Mart Look Good
While they tried to make things look bad, by using one rather snippy response to thousands of questions, they not only failed, they actually make Scott look pretty good.
So how did the Times come across three years of Scott's postings on a restricted company portal? Easy, a disgruntled manager gave them to Wal Mart Watch, a group run by unions who are ticked about Wal Mart taking market share away from their grocery store workers.
The Times does itself no real favors on this article. First, they basically admit to being used as lackey's for Wal Mart Watch. Any idea that this piece started as a "human interest" article, and ended up going into some hurtful territory is thrown out in this paragraph.
Copies of Mr. Scott's postings covering two years were made available to The New York Times by Wal-Mart Watch, a group backed by unions and foundations that is pressing Wal-Mart to improve its wages and benefits. Wal-Mart Watch said it received the postings from a disgruntled manager. While the existence of the Web site and Mr. Scott's participation in it have been known, transcripts have never been made public before.Secondly, they post a large number of questions and answers from the site, but when it comes to any of the negative ones, they only use the editors sysopsis, not the actual question or answer.
I'm pretty sure the reason behind that is if taken in full context the questions and answers might not seem nearly as bad as they do out of context. If I remember yellow journalism 101, they taught if you couldn't make your point using all the facts, leave out the stuff that contradicts you.
What they ended up printing though, looks like a lot of good management quotes from someone trying to keep his company competitive, his employees motivated, and reminding his managers of their jobs.
Last time I checked that is called leadership, I guess the editors at the Times can't recognize that trait. Sometimes leadership means saying things people don't want to hear, or that don't sound nice, but that doesn't make them untrue.
For example, while the Times paints it as a bad thing, Scott answered a question about unions blocking access to New York City and othe cities, this way:
"that way its members' employers" — meaning many Wal-Mart competitors — "can continue to charge extremely high prices for food and tolerate poor service."I've chronicled here how much I save per week shopping for one person going to Super Wal Mart instead of my local union grocer. It's not a small amount of money, and I'm a middle class guy.
He also makes a very true, but unflattering comment about GM, in the context of the bashing Maryland and other states are giving them about health benefits.
At several points, Mr. Scott addressed criticisms that Wal-Mart health plan was too stingy toward its employees. He said that Wal-Mart's health plan "stacks up very, very competitively" with other retailers. In a knock at companies that provide more generous benefits, Mr. Scott wrote: "One of the things said about General Motors now is that General Motors is no longer an automotive company. General Motors is a benefit company that sells cars to fund those benefits."
Can disprove his statement about GM? They are the second largest provider of health benefits in the US behind the government. The comment isn't complimentary, but it is explanitory, which is what his forum is about. It's also very much on the mark when it comes to Wal Mart benefits when compared to other retailers.
Mr. Scott does have a response for the New York Times, however, it wasn't given to them. Instead, it was posted on Lee's Garage, and it was e-mailed to a bunch of bloggers who have written about Wal Mart in the past, myself included.
Why he chose us, instead of writing another Op Ed piece as he did in the Washington Post? I believe the tone of the Times Piece had something to do with it. You can see he isn't going to get a fair shake from them, so why not use alternative methods to get the message out.
Here's what he had to say today about the Times Article :
Well, we had been looking for ways to promote Lee’s Garage, and it looks like the New York Times has done that for us. The reporters take issue with my tone in some cases, but as you all know, with me, what you see is what you get. I will respectfully tell it like it is. I think the story ends on an important point, quoting my advice to an up-and-coming leader: “The first thing you can do is make sure you treat your people well, and understand that your associates are what will make you a success.” I truly believe that and think you can’t go wrong in this business if you live by that. Feel free to check out Lee’s Garage on the WIRE and see what you think.)Technorati Tags: Wal Mart, New York Times, unions news blogs
(Note: I'm no less a lacky in this than the Times, as I got my info from Wal Mart. However, I'm not trying to hide an opinion piece as a news item; read my header if you doubt that this is opinion. And, I've always been very candid that I'm pro-Wal Mart)