Amazon PR And NY Times Editor Still Fighting Over Article About Amazon From August

It’s a little strange to watch representatives of two of the most powerful retail and media companies in the country have a war of words on the blogpages of the platform Medium. Two months ago, the New York Times ran an article about Amazon’s workplace culture based on more than 100 interviews with current and former employees, some of whom didn’t want to be named. Now, representatives of Amazon and the Times are engaging in a war of words over the credibility of the named interviewees, and the nature of the story itself.

According to Jay Carney, Senior Vice President for Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon, the New York Times had led Amazon to believe that the article would be a nuanced view of what it’s like to work at Amazon, and what the Times published was a series of complaints from former employees, which one of the reporters behind the piece had explicitly promised was what the story would not be.

Records at Amazon showed that stories that ex-employees shared weren’t necessarily true: the named source who complained about anonymous feedback, for example, had only ever received positive notes through the tool. Another source resigned when he was caught defrauding vendors, according to Carney’s post.

Why take the dispute to the Internet? Carney says that Amazon presented its findings to the Times “a few weeks ago,” and the newspaper didn’t respond. Editor Dean Baquet did answer with a Medium post of his own a few hours later, pointing out that much of what the named sources said was corroborated in other interviews with people who couldn’t go on the record.

“Of course, plenty of conversations and interactions occur in workplaces that are not documented in personnel files,” Baquet writes, which is something that anyone who has ever had a job knows well.

What The New York Times Didn’t Tell You [Medium]
Dean Baquet Responds To Jay Carney’s Medium Post [Medium]
Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace [NY Times]

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