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Saturday, March 11, 2006

4 Sides of the Story, Pt. 2

(Updated 3/14 with correction to B.L. Ochman entry)
This is the second in a two part series on the "after story" from the Wal-Mart Bloggers story in NY Times. Here is a link to part 1, which covered conservative and liberal blogger reaction.

I'll cover the last two categories that ended up sending hits my way this week from the story in the Times, The media and PR bloggers, and the Anti-Wal-Mart crowd.

3. PR & Media bloggers. I found nearly 100 links from this area, and didn't look to hard. These are the highlights of them, because Blogger would probably choke if I put them all in here.
The general reaction in the Public Relations group was "this is a story?" It was, however, the biggest story of the week in their arena, according to "Marketing Road Maps".

On the media side, there were a couple of places that stood out. (I've already done an entire write up on Howard Kurtz's piece in the Washington Post, so he's not covered here)

Update: Kurtz cover's the issue again in the March 13th column, with quotes from Barbaro about being scooped by the bloggers.

The Editors Weblog, "Editorial solutions for the newspaper renaissance" doesn't much like the practice, and basically parrots the line from the Times, that bloggers have destroyed their independence. In a separate article, they lament that PR firms might turn to bloggers instead of newspapers to get the word out. So much for that renaissance.

Another media outlet, CBS News Public Eye liked Jeff Jarvis's ideas at Buzz Machine on disclosure, but overall weren't too impressed by the idea of bloggers taking over the news. Gosh, I wonder if that has anything to do with them being burned by them? On the subject of "serious journalism" they said:

"It seems to me that model is under assault like never before, something that may overall be positive or negative. My question is, what are we replacing it with?"
I would say it's being replaced by "distributed journalism". While CBS, the NY Times, other other "serious journalists" will remain around, what they are becoming is the catalyst for the distributed, citizen journalists. It's a painful transition for the old line media, as we've seen with RatherGate and other issues, they kick back when they are called on their own conduct. (Marquette Warrior has more on this)

On the Public Relations front I learned a lot this week, like how many PR bloggers are out there.
I didn't realize there were blogs to teach CEO's how to blog, but Debbie Weil's Blogwrite For CEO's showed me there are. She also was in the vast majority in her field that thought this campaign hadn't backfired, though Business Blog Consulting did think it turned out bad for Wal-Mart.

Debbie's blog pointed me to Dan Gillmor at Center for Citizen Media, who seemed to sum up the entire public relations world reaction, with his post Bloggers and Disclosure. His discussion on how and when to attribute information to a source, and why should be required reading.

Neville Hobson thought it was quite a good way of doing business by Edelman, but did have issues with how Marshall Manson worded some of the e-mails. He felt that they could have been more upfront in the intro e-mails about working for Edelman. He also got me and Rob Port from SayAnything mixed up, but I'll live with the strikeout's on my name. His comments section was a trove of knowledge on how this was viewed in the marketing world.

4. The Anti-WalMart Crowd. Some huge unions and PAC's run many of the "grassroots" organizations behind these websites including the two biggest, Wal-Mart Watch, and Wake Up Wal-Mart. Each of these ran some sort of derogatory statement.

I guess the folks at WakeUpWalMart ( the United Food and commercial Workers) don't see the irony in their comments about this.

The truth is the American people deserve more from Wal-Mart than manufactured rhetoric and false notions of support. The American people will not tolerate deception. For example, there is no such group 'Working Families for Wal-Mart.' The group is a front, comprised of several paid consultants and business associates and staffed by Wal-Mart's own public relations firm.

What irony should they be seeing? Well the irony the "about page" doesn't disclose who funds them (the United Food & Commercial Workers union), or that while claiming to be a "grass roots" effort of 187,000 people, it started with a group of lobbyists and PR people who are still working out of the union's offices. (Thanks Baltimore Sun!)

For the record guys, comparing a bunch of folks you categorize as pushing a right wing agenda to Karl Rove would probably be seen as a badge of courage to them.

Think Progress, a left wing political action committee sent me more hits than the actual Times story did with just this small entry:

Wal-Mart is caught planting articles with right-wing bloggers. Many of the bloggers posted Wal-Mart’s information word for word, without revealing their source.
I'm the link under bloggers, and no, I didn't post any of their information word for word. But that's okay, thanks for the traffic.

I find them funny, a group critical of the idea of a blogger using a press release as a lead; who will e-mail you all of there press releases, all you have to do is sign up on their list.

WalMartWatch.com, another place I got a lot of hits from claims to be a "grassroots effort" to change Wal-Mart, but is funded by unions and Think Progress (at least they disclose it). I hope my lawn has grass roots that deep this summer.

The funny part of the blog portion of their site is that wedged between a few of the pieces they did on the Wal-Bloggers issue, is a place to sign up to "Join The WWW", Wal-Mart Watch Websites! Evidently it's an okay tactic, so long as you will blog against Wal-Mart.

Marquette Warrior also has info up about anti-walmart sites and their PR outreach campaign.

Finally, there were some genuine smaller blogs that are against Wal-Mart, and other "big box" retailers for various reasons who weighed in.

The Boxtank, a site dedicated to urbanization, and sprawl, didn't have much to say on the issue, just the standard "word for word" quote that got pretty tiresome after the 30th or so place I read it. Evidently the quoted it because it had the word Wal-Mart in it.

B.L. Ochman's What's Next Blog has a wonderful title for his her (hit) piece on the issue "NY Times: Edelman in Sleazy Relationship with Right Wing Bloggers". It was evident reading his her post that while he she scanned a lot of the blogs articles on the Times piece, he she never bothered to go back and read anything we'd ever done on Wal-Mart, or this line wouldn't have been in there.

There were other ways they could have enlisted bloggers to listen to them that didn't involve deception and questionable ethics. So much for transparency. It's clearly another tired illusion.

Had he she bothered to read most of our blogs, he'd she'd have seen that we did attribute things to either Edelman or Wal-Mart on many occasions. Edelman's dealings with us, and the vast majority of the bloggers dealings with their readers were handled just fine. Yes, there were a few instances where the weren't but not enough to cause his her 'illusion'.

There are quite a few others in each of the categories from the two posts about this. In fact enough that I have four pages single spaced nearly full of blog titles and links where I found the story perculating.

Overall, it's been an interesting week, with a bunch of new readers, and some interesting learning experiences. I hope a few of the new folks stick around and find out what the other 99% of my blog is about, because Wal-Mart has only been the subject of 1% of Crazy Politico's Rantings. (okay, it's 2% after this week, corrections corrections corrections, jeez!)

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Blogger Lone Pony said...

CP - I get more information out of your blog for FREE than I get out of most of the magazines that I pay for. If you ever give up blogging, I'm going to go into immediate withdrawal.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Thanks, I'll just sit here and blush now.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Wow, I was really shocked to learn that the anti-Walmart groups would be so dishonest about their funding (through lack of disclosure) and then act as the aggrieved parties by the pro-Walmart blogs. Typical leftist/Democrat tactics.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Toni, in fairness Wal-Mart Watch does list their contributors on the site. However, they still had a funny take on it for a group started by lobbyists and PR hacks.

As for Wake Up WalMart, I couldn't find anything on their site admitting they are just an arm of the UFCW union.

7:33 AM  
Blogger BL said...

Here you are accusing me of not reading your blog. Har! Had you bothered to read my blog, you would see that I am a she, not a he. Like you, I have my picture on my blog.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Uber said...

Let me be the first to admit that I didn't read her blog. And I'm not ever going to either. lol

Great roundup CP...sorry to give you one generic comment for all of your posts lately but I've not been around a whole lot.

I've been here awhile though and post after post...great stuff. It's obvious that you're all ever everything! ;)

4:14 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

BL, My apology, I have corrected it. I did actually read your blog, I just didn't realize that was your picture, I figured it was one of the many blog ads you have up, so ignored it.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Thanks Uber, I appreciate the kind words.

Hope your life slows down so you can stop by a little more often.

5:16 PM  

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