Edelman PR in fake blog controversy

PR agency Edelman has been under intense fire the last few days for being involved in a pro-Wal-Mart blog, but not being open about who the sponsor is. MediaPost writes about the blog called “Wal-Marting Across America”:

“The blog, launched Sept. 27, was profiled in this week’s issue of BusinessWeek, which exposed the site as a promotional tactic engineered by Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFWM), an organization launched by Wal-Mart’s public relations firm Edelman. WFWM paid for the RV [Recreational Vehicle ]and all travel expenses, rerouted the trip’s original plan, and plastered a logo on the RV’s side. Though a banner ad announced WFWM sponsored the site, it did not divulge Wal-Mart paid for the couple’s RV, gas, food and other expenses.”

fake walmart blog

It took a few days until Richard Edelman responded with an apology.

“I want to acknowledge our error in failing to be transparent about the identity of the two bloggers from the outset. This is 100% our responsibility and our error; not the client’s.”

Constantin Basturea has a good set of comments from the PR blogosphere. See also Kevin O’Keefe.

[Cartoon: courtesy of Gaping Void.]