USA Today and Wal-Mart Poop

wal-mart-partyUSA Today has a story today about retail behemoth Wal-Mart’s upcoming shareholder meeting. And the headline tells you all you need to know.

“Wal-Mart’s Annual Shareholder Party Could Face Party Poopers,” the paper’s Money section (6/6/14) proclaims. This sounds terrible; who doesn’t like to party?

You see, the company’s events are usually star-studded sessions,¬†“like the Oscars with a little bit of business,” as a company rep explains. Last year superstar Tom Cruise showed up.

And this year? USA Today says there are some things planned, and they don’t sound so fun:

Ahead of this year’s shareholders’ meeting, a working-mothers group seeking higher pay protested in 20 cities this week, and dozens are expected to picket at the shareholders meeting.

Wow, way to spoil a good time.

Now, it should be pointed out that USA Today¬†mentions other Wal-Mart problems: declining sales and “a lingering corruption scandal over bribery allegations,” for starters. And then there’s the watchdog group highlighting the massive tax breaks the company receives by giving its executives big bonuses.


Party poopers, according to USA Today.

This is all news, of course–and not the kind that the company wants to hear about. But party pooping? It’s not hard to see who USA Today is referring to. In both the print and online editions, we see photos of Wal-Mart protests.

The piece manages to close on a high note–for the company, that is:

Party atmosphere and potential blowback from shareholders and some disgruntled strikers aside, Wal-Mart executives, including CEO Doug McMillon, are expected to provide a positive front and lay out plans for the company’s rebound.

It’s not often that anti-corporate activists are heard from in the corporate media. Do they really need to be called “party poopers”?

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.