Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thank you for blogging for Wal-Mart - UPDATED 3/8/06

Bloggers are sometimes called citizen journalists, and have begun to receive the flood of spin that PR professionals deluge MSM journalists with; do they do any more due diligence with that information than the MSM? Should they?

A NYTimes article, found via Huffington Post, details one of Wal-Mart's tactics in their new campaign to "tell their story" and change their image as a retail hellhole, via outreach in the blogosphere. An employee of their PR firm, Edelman, is a blogger who spreads propaganda for Wal-Mart and has seen his messages reproduced verbatim on other blogs -- something "old media" news release writers have experienced many times back in the day of printed newspapers.

Many serious bloggers (those making a living at it, and those uncompensated but passionate) strive for credibility. If they don't credit or double check a source, whether it's another blog, a newspaper, or a PR flack, do they have a right to expect to be seen as credible?

UPDATE: A new article on flackery featuring Edelman and this approach in the New York Observer, including a "greed is good" observation from Richard Edelman:

“P.R.,” he said, “plays much better in a world that lacks trust.”

I'm so proud.

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