Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

When Your Trust Bank Account is Overdrawn: Scott at Media Orchard rightfully takes issue with bloggers who jumped to the worst possible conclusion about Wal-Mart's offensive links problem--and offers up the real explanation, which I hadn't seen before (it wasn't a software glitch; it was a well-meaning human error). Obviously, the company is owed an apology.

And yet... and yet... Without condoning or apologizing for those who accused Wal-Mart of racism, I have to say that if Al Golin's famous "trust bank" concept means anything, it means that while some companies have a healthy balance to draw on in times of trouble (Johnson & Johnson), others are overdrawn (Wal-Mart). So when a problem comes along, they don't get the benefit of the doubt; people assume the worst.

Wal-Mart, lest we forget, has a history of censoring authors whose politics it disagrees with; exploiting illegal immigrants; and comparing its critics to Nazis. That doesn't make it racist. But a company that nurtures that kind of reputation should not be surprised if some people assume the worst.

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