Walmart–no stranger to bad press–made a rare PR decision to cease all communication with a major news outlet, announcing that it will no longer provide comment to The Huffington Post.
The retailer’s VP of communications, David Tovar, said in a statement that Walmart “made a 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”. Huffington Post’s executive business editor, Peter Goodman, accused Walmart of making a “false” assertion, and said he “can’t recall another company cutting off access in this fashion.”
Here, via Business Insider, are five specific reasons Walmart gave for its decision:
- The Huffington Post only publishes negative stories about Walmart, and never publishes positive ones. Generally, Walmart says the Huffington Post is “riddled with inaccuracies”.
- The Huffington Post declined to mention Walmart’s outstanding Black Friday sales.
- The Huffington Post overstates the scale of protests against the chain.
- Walmart’s PR people have bent over backwards to help the Huffington Post with reporting but gotten short shrift in published stories.
- The Huffington Post created a special landing page just for Walmart stories, something it hasn’t done for other companies.
You can read a detailed breakdown of specific Huffington Post articles about Walmart (and how each side views them) here.
While we won’t venture to take sides here, we will say that a blanket no-comment policy like this one, while it may insulate a corporation from having its own words used against it, also completely negates that company’s ability to weigh in on relevant issues and influence the way a story is run. If your company is having a PR problem, (or, you know, several) we can understand why it may be frustrating to feel like all of your efforts to stamp out the flames are consistently ignored by a particular news outlet. But is throwing in the towel really the answer?