Amazon has been effectively feeding speaking issues, video pictures, and other corporate messaging to local television news stations sooner than its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. The footage and script are designed to paint Amazon in a positive light because it faces a torrent of unhealthy media protection and criticism from activists and politicians over its dealing with of place of job safety issues in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
As Zach Rael, an anchor for ABC affiliate KOCO FIVE News in Oklahoma Town, pointed out on Twitter earlier this morning, Amazon’s public family members crew has been emailing TELEVISION stations across the u . s . a . with prepared scripts and b-roll programs that promote the company’s protection precautions and other measures to struggle COVID-19 amongst its warehouse team of workers.
so far, 8 Amazon employees have died of the virus, in keeping with media stories, and countless others had been infected. But, Amazon has come underneath fire for refusing to disclose concrete numbers round COVID-19 infections, cracking down on worker protests in opposition to safety stipulations and failing to tell some workers whilst their colleagues became sick.
Just got an electronic mail from Amazon’s PR team with a pre-edited information story and script to run in our displays. they are promoting this as giving our viewers an “inside of look” at the company’s reaction to COVID-19.
Let us cross within a achievement facilities with our own cameras… pic.twitter.com/7mDk2xmf4O
— Zach Rael (@KOCOZach) Might 24, 2020
These PR methods were deployed via firms for many years, however a anxious video put together through local news-targeted outlet Courier Newsroom demonstrates how efficient Amazon’s way is and why so many firms use identical strategies to seed narratives to news media. The video showcases 11 news stations working portions of Amazon’s script verbatim, with the words spoken by way of native information anchors and without any acknowledgment that they were written through Amazon spokesperson Todd Walker.
“Only One station, Toledo ABC associate WTVG, stated that Walker used to be an Amazon worker, now not a information reporter, and that the content had come from Amazon,” Courier stories. Whilst reached for comment, Wes Armstead, the news director for Bluefield, West Virginia NBC affiliate WVVA, instructed Courier, “I Was now not aware the bundle was equipped by Amazon,” adding, “We’ll ensure that it doesn’t happen once more.”
Courier says Amazon has denied any wrongdoing, as an alternative pointing to the publicly to be had press unlock it issued on Might 23rd through Business Cord containing the script textual content and b-roll footage it provided to media outlets.
In a statement, Amazon mentioned the package deal used to be designed to aid information media that cannot shoot on location through the pandemic. “We welcome newshounds into our buildings and it’s deceptive to indicate in a different way. this sort of video used to be created to percentage an within inspect the health and protection measures we’ve rolled out in our homes and was once supposed for reporters who for a wide range of reasons weren’t capable of come tour one of our websites themselves,” an organization spokesperson tells The Verge.
Amazon additionally says the video provided to the scoop stations used to be now not promotional in nature and nobody desirous about it was paid to take part.
Replace Might 26th, 6:12PM ET: Up To Date to include a press release from Amazon.