At least 10 local news stations around the country aired corporate propaganda from online retail giant Amazon praising the company's worker safety protocols ahead of a shareholders meeting on Wednesday where investors are expected to demand better protections for employees from the company's leadership, including CEO Jeff Bezos.
"Jeff Bezos can run as many scripted news segments he wants," tweeted advocacy group Americans for Tax Fairness. "It still doesn't change the fact that he made $34.5 billion over the course of this pandemic while putting his workers in harm's way and shirking on their hazard pay." Courier journalist Tim Burke broke the story Tuesday in an article featuring a video showing anchors from the various stations parroting the script. Watch:
As Burke explained, the majority of the stations running the package did not acknowledge the material was produced by Amazon spokesperson Todd Walker or that the package came from the company:
Only one station, Toledo ABC affiliate WTVG, acknowledged that Walker was an Amazon employee, not a news reporter. WTVG and WGXA in Macon, Georgia, noted that Amazon had supplied the video.
The segments, which ran about a minute long, praised Amazon's commitment to employee safety and the roll out of new preventive measures at facilities around the nation. The company sent a prepared script (pdf) and video package to producers, as Oklahoma City KOCO 5 anchor Zach Kael said on Twitter.
"No," said Kael, suggesting a different approach to reporting on the Amazon's protocols. "Let us go inside a fulfillment centers with our own cameras."
The retailer has come under fire over its apparent lack of interest in protecting employee safety in the face of increased demand for products.
As the Vergereported, Amazon's record leaves much to be desired despite the claims of its propaganda: