This morning CNN's Miles O'Brien tried his hand at Anderson Cooper-style righteous indignation with middling results during a segment about how Wal-Mart was responding to Robert Greenwald's much heralded documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, currently being flocked to by similarly indignant yuppies and college freshman with no homework.
In a mocking tone O'Brien sniffed that Wal-Mart had "hired a big fancy PR firm."
"In other words the response to what seemed to be some substantive concerns about wages and how workers are treated is public relations. Trying to put a little lipstick on a pig maybe. Is Wal-Mart going to succeed?"
Ironically, the voice of reason and journalistic balance turned out to be not the supposed moderator O'Brien, but his guest, a correspondent for a business magazine who tried to explain that both Wal-Mart and those trying to unionize the store were engaged in a political campaign-esque battle of which PR was a component. O'Brien wasn't having any of it, though.
"One way to stem the tide would be to perhaps treat workers better," the anchor said. "Or is that just an anathema?"
O'Brien then rambled on about how Wal-Mart should realize their employees were also their customers, but it's a little late to be offering advice to a company after you've called it a dolled up pig that has an anathematic revulsion to doing anything nice in pursuit of its capitalistic destruction of the proletariat, isn't it? I'm curious if O'Brien would sign on to Greenwald's other documentary propositions of recent years, namely that election 2000 was stolen and Rupert Murdoch is Satan?
Ted Kennedy loves the new movie and has been appearing with the filmmaker, but another Democratic Senator, Arkansas Mark Pryor, actually made a reasonable point about his homestate company.
"Wal-Mart has been an extremely successful American company and they are obviously being attacked on a lot of different fronts, but I don't know how fair that is -- or unfair," he told an Arkansas paper. "Every time I drive by Wal-Mart the parking lot is full of cars," he said. "Obviously, they are successful for a reason."
A lot of people must like kissing pigs.
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