Covering Wal-Mart 

A new television ad critical of Wal-Mart says that the huge retailer’s business practices are far from Christ-like, a reporter on Channel 4’s newscast informed us the other night, but she quickly added – lest anybody get the wrong idea about Wal‑Mart or Channel 4 — that “religious leaders” had concluded the ad’s labor-union sponsor was only attempting to appropriate the banner of Christian values for the union’s own secular purposes. Those “religious leaders” she mentioned turned out to be Jerry Cox, the head of the Arkansas Family Council, a right-wing lobby group. All one of him.

Conservative pundits profess to see major mistreatment of Wal-Mart in the media. They see what they want to see, just as that Channel 4 reporter saw a band of Jerry Coxes. Wal-Mart has many friends and protectors in the media, especially the Big Media. Wal-Mart is, among other things, an advertiser, much more of an advertiser than any labor union or consumer group, and no cow is so sacred to most of the media as an advertiser.

When ABC’s “World News Tonight” focused its attention on a class-action sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart, the show ran a segment quoting one plaintiff, then went to three sources for criticism of the case, including Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott. Steve Bokat of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, another member of the defense team, echoed Scott, calling the suit “fundamentally unfair.” ABC reporter Geoff Morrell advised that “economists say [the lawsuit] could have a chilling effect on big retailers, forcing them to raise prices and implement stricter policies for promotion.” For affirmation of Morrell’s remarks, the network turned to Tim Kane of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, who said the lawsuit would “make the management risk-averse; that adds cost to you and me.” No other economists were quoted. E pluribus unum.

Wal-Mart roughs up the media as much as the other way around. Among the largest sellers of media products, Wal-Mart denies shelf space to those it deems inappropriate, such as “America (The Book),” a satirical look at politics and government by Jon Stewart and Comedy Central’s Daily Show. Too irreverent for Wal-Mart.

It was widely reported that Time magazine had intended to select Osama bin Laden as its “person of the year” for 2001, but backed down under pressure from Wal-Mart, which did not officially confirm the reports, but didn’t deny that pressure had been applied either. Editor Wal-Mart at work.

Time had no hard feelings that it dared show, if it wanted to stay on the shelves of the company that accounts for 15 percent of all single-copy magazine sales in the U.S. In June 2005, Time did a cheerleading piece on Wal-Mart’s Chinese enterprises. It found that Chinese employees and customers alike were delighted with Wal-Mart, the big softy.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.


    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation