Local news stations across the U.S. aired a segment produced and scripted by Amazon which touts the company’s role in delivering essential groceries and cleaning products during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its ability to do so while “keeping its employees safe and healthy.”
This comes at a time when Amazon is under fire for failing to effectively deliver essential items during the pandemic, blind-siding 3rd party sellers, and failing to provide workers with the necessary equipment. (Those are all additional Vice articles, too).
The idea that news stations received PR material from a company like Amazon isn’t really new. News stations get this kind of fluff garbage all the time.
The Amazon spokesperson, insisting that they not be directly quoted, also made various other claims. Lots of companies distribute similar videos, they said, and journalists can’t enter Amazon warehouses due to the risk of contracting a deadly virus and so running footage Amazon created of workers is the [next best] thing. Additionally, they said that the promotional video was not a promotional video and that no one who participated in it was paid. Whether this includes Walker, the Amazon PR manager, is unclear.
Here’s what’s wild:
The segment, which was aired by at least 11 local TV stations, and which was introduced with a script written by Amazon and recited verbatim by news anchors.
Here’s an example:
What blows my mind is that these stations ran this piece as if they wrote it themselves, more than anything else. It’s garbage reporting and a massive abuse of trust. No one would watch it or take it seriously if they prefaced the piece by saying “Amazon wrote this for us.” So why run it?
Don’t believe this is a thing, yet?