NYC Anti-Wal-Mart Protesters Are, In Reality, Anti-Wal-Mart Protesters

This has been going around “the blogosphere” lately (like “the Information Super Highway,” I expect that this term will become increasingly embarrassing to most of us as we get older and Al Gore claims to have created it) and it’s not quite what it appears, but it’s worth a post: coming out of Grand Central Station, Mihow from the eponymous encountered a raucous crowd of what appeared to be anti-Wal-Mart protesters. They handed him some literature, which then turned out to actually be pamphlets from Wal-Mart Watch.

This lead a lot of people to think that Wal-Mart was engaging in viral marketing. Leaving Edelman out of the equation, you can understand why they’d be confused: the literature actually appears to be supporting Wal-Mart, as opposed to merely listing the ideals Wal-Mart should be living up to. In actuality, Wal-Mart Watch appears to be a relatively balanced and mature organization… they certainly don’t seem like the kind of guys who’d run around Grand Central Station shouting “New York Without Wal-Mart!”

Let’s face it: most Wal-Mart hate is pure limo liberal anti-capitalism, plain and simple. From their webpage, Wal-Mart Watch seems to be better than that: they don’t want Wal-Mart destroyed, they want Wal-Mart to live up to the corporate responsibilities they’re neglecting. Everyone wins.

Our bet is someone from this protesting group just downloaded the first PDF they found in a Google search for “Wal-Mart literature.” Probably not the best choice. Like most protests, just a piss poor showing all around.

Wal-Mart Goes Viral. Maybe [Mihow]


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  1. Amy Alkon says:

    Surprised to read you buying that spin on Al Gore. Here’s the story from The Daily Howler:

    A few quotes from the piece:

    Al Gore, 3/9/99: During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

    Newt Gingrich, 9/1/00: Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet.

    David Maraniss, 8/26/00: Gore really was instrumental in developing the Internet. He was the one congressman who understood the whole thing in the ’70s.

    In her influential report, Mittelstadt committed one of the press corps’ most common sins; she took an unremarkable statement by Gore and paraphrased it in the most tendentious way possible-which also happened to be the way Gore’s political rivals were spinning it. Had Gore ever claimed to be “father of the Internet?” The language didn’t appear in his statement, but it now led Mittelstadt’s AP report. And now, the press corps-having ignored Gore’s remark for two solid days-began to file excited reports uncritically adopting the GOP’s spin-points. Indeed, some of the GOP’s most tendentious language was simply adopted, word-for-word, by major members of the press. On March 11, for example, Sensenbrenner’s press release carried this headline: “DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR: VICE PRESIDENT GORE TAKES CREDIT FOR CREATING THE INTERNET.” On March 12, Lou Dobbs cribbed from the statement on Moneyline, his nightly CNN program. Dobbs called Gore’s remarks “a case study tonight in delusions of grandeur,” just as Sensenbrenner had done. And Gore “apparently thinks he’s the Father of the Internet,” Dobbs said, using a key phrase from Nicholson’s statement! That’s right, kids! Dobbs took “delusions of grandeur” straight from Sensenbrenner, and “father of the Internet” straight from Nicholson; like Mittelstadt, he directly adopted the GOP’s tendentious accounts of what Gore supposedly said. .

  2. I can’t believe it. You mean someone put words in a politicians’ mouth that they didn’t actually say? Luckily that’s never happened to Bush.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Dan writes:

    “Dear Consumerist,

    Look, I know The Consumerist is generally pro-capitalism, which, although a little at odds with my personal opinions, is cool. Intelligent discussion is fun, and you’re always a good read. But the last paragraph in your recent post about tobacco advertising has finally pushed me over the edge, and I just *have* to let this rant out:

    Capitalism works okay in theory, but pure capitalism doesn’t work for every product. This is why we have governments and laws and patents and many other things to even up the playing field – so private companies can’t do stuff like.. sell addictive products that kill people and pocket all the profit without taking any responsibility.

    Do you enjoy paying for all those people with lung cancer and emphysema and all the other horrible (and expensive!) diseases caused directly by smoking, while the tobacco companies have enough cash floating around to spend bajillions on advertising?
    (note: here in the UK we have a National Health Service paid for with our taxes, but I’m pretty sure the same effect is present in you American’s crazy poor-people-don’t-deserve-to-live-as-much-as-rich-people private healthcare system)

    Capitalism isn’t a terrible idea, in theory at least, and it works okay 90% of the time. But you can’t deny that in practice there needs to be some kind of control to prevent stuff that doesn’t follow capitalism’s ‘rules’ from just syphoning cash into the pockets of unscrupulous businessmen who are perfectly willing to sell addictive products that kill people.. can you?

    Do you not think that Tobacco would be illegal if it wasn’t for the fact that half the world is addicted to it (and of course the extra tax income it generates [at least it does in the UK, I imagine it’s the same for you]). In fact, I’m not sure the tobacco industry would even exist if it wasn’t for the addictive qualities. I sure as hell wouldn’t still be smoking if it’s addictive powers didn’t outgun my willpower..

    I assume from the name of your site, that you claim to be “Pro-consumer.” Just how *is* tobacco good for consumers?”

  4. Ben Popken says:

    Jonathan writes:

    “I never do this – really! But I’ve been enjoying your site for some time now, and while you continue to tightly control who may contribute to your forums, that selectivity doesn’t seem to be enforced in who writes your posts. Are we *honestly* reading about “Al Gore says he invented the internet”? Has it not been debunked thoroughly enough? Shall we look forward to future articles about how many people the Clintons have had killed?

    I get that Consumerist is a young site, and it’s struggling to find a voice. You folks made a fine decision when you agreed to stop beating up on Mom & Pop ice cream stands and t-shirt vendors. Here’s hoping that “lib-rul” bashing foolishness like the above is left behind as well. “

  5. AcidReign says:

    …..Actually, it’s not that tightly controlled. Any Gawker site login seems to work for them all. I never applied for a Consumerist voice, I just wandered over here, enjoyed it, found it useful. Unexpected commenting privledges (posting on someone else’s blog is not a RIGHT, y’all!) were a nice bonus! All you have to do is give them a valid email address, pretty much. And I vote for banning the really obnoxious trolls and especially spammers from this site.