Walmart, as has been discussed in this space many times over the years, is a very big target. I don't mention that in an effort to elicit sympathy for the company. After all, management from Sam Walton on has needed to be pretty tough to vault Walmart to its position as the largest retailer in the world. That's why I have to admit being a bit perplexed that Walmart has chosen to stop talking to a major media outlet, The Huffington Post.
David Tovar, Walmart's vice president for communications, offered the following statement to explain the retailer's decision: "We have made a business decision not to participate in Huffington Post articles going forward due to the one-sided reporting and unfair and unbalanced editorial decisions made by Huffington Post reporters and editors."
Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove told Politico in an e-mail that a recent Huffington Post story on the company's healthcare insurance benefits was "riddled with inaccuracies" including its assertion that the retailer had instituted a "new plan" to deny coverage to newly hired employees working fewer than 30 hours a week. The plan has been in place for nearly a year.
Mr. Hargrove wrote that a higher percentage of employees have signed up for coverage since new plans were put in place.
Peter Goodman executive business editor for The Huffington Post, told The Washington Post that he "pleads guilty to singling out the nation's single largest private employer for significant coverage." He said that other large employers including Apple and General Motors have their own landing pages on the site similar to Walmart.
While Walmart's action is not altogether unusual, refusing to speak with reporters at the site may prevent it from making its position clear on important stories in the future. It also potentially cuts off a line of communication with a group of consumers who may not hear the company's position elsewhere.
Do you agree or disagree with Walmart's decision to not speak with The Huffington Post for future stories the company runs about the retailer?