Thursday, September 14, 2006

New York Times backtracks on Wal-Mart article

On September 8th we questioned an article run by the New York Times which implied that think tanks wrote pieces defending Wal-Mart on issues because a foundation, controlled by members of the family that owns Wal-Mart gave them an insignificant amount of their budget.

We noted that often writers for think tanks, the people who are expressing their opinions and study results, have no idea about the funding. Now the newspaper admits they screwed up. For instance they now admit that one author of such an article on Wal-Mart, Tom Kane did not know any funds from the Walton Family Foundation was ever given to anyone he worked for. In addition, as we noted to be likely, Mr. Kane also wrote articles that were critical of Wal-Mart on other issues. The paper also admits that two of the authors in questions "should have been asked to comment before publication." In other words an article was written making claims involving these writers but these men were not contacted before it was published.

And at least one man, who wrote an article on Wal-Mart, and knew of the donations had, contrary to the claims in the article, actually disclosed the contribution. All in all the retractions pretty much confirm what we said in our original piece on the article.