Richard Edelman, the CEO of the Edelman PR firm, "issued an apology for his agency's role in creating a blog for client Wal-Mart that did not properly disclose its origins or funding," notes PR Week. The walmartingacrossamerica.com website "chronicled a couple's journey across the country in an RV while stopping at various Wal-Mart parking lots." The trip was funded by Working Families for Wal-Mart, a front group funded by the giant retailer. Edelman told PR Week, "We still have a job to do about explaining to our staff their [disclosure] obligation in old media and new media." Worse, one of the fake bloggers was Washington Post photographer James Thresher, who later agreed to repay Working Families for the $2,200 cost of his and his girlfriend's airfare, RV rental, gas and food during the 10-day trip. Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., who also asked that Thresher's pictures be removed from the pro-Wal-Mart website, called Working Families "a special-interest group," reports Howard Kurtz. Even worse, filmmaker Ron Galloway recently resigned from Working Families' steering committee, reports O'Dwyer's. Galloway said he disagreed with Wal-Mart's new wage caps; Wal-Mart says the split's because Galloway's new movie is about "the so-called myth of global warming." Even worse again, Wal-Mart is being criticized for a holiday-themed website that allows kids to email gift wish lists to their parents, reports Advertising Age.
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