November 2012: Wal-Mart declares that it will no longer cooperate with the Huffington Post’s reportorial crew. A statement from Wal-Mart made the policy official:
We have made a business decision not to participate in Huffington Post articles going forward due to the one-sided reporting and unfair and unbalanced editorial decisions made by Huffington Post reporters and editors.
March 21, 2013: Huffington Post publishes this interview with outgoing Wal-Mart executive vice president of corporate affairs Leslie Dach. As for the tone of the interview, let’s just say it’s “one-sided reporting.” But not the sort of “one-sided reporting” that prompted the Wal-Mart boycott of Huffington Post in the first place. A taste of the interview’s tone and thrust leaps from a look at some of the questions posed by Huffington Post:
The Huffington Post: What do you consider to be your most noteworthy accomplishments in terms of transforming Walmart’s culture and placing an emphasis on social good? What was successful? What wasn’t?
HuffPost: When you took the position in 2006, Walmart’s public image was struggling. Did that give you pause or make your decision more difficult?
HuffPost: Can you talk a bit about your specific agenda at Walmart, from sustainability and sustainable agriculture to nutrition and women’s economic empowerment?
HuffPost: When you were instituting changes regarding things like philanthropy or energy conservation, did you face much internal resistance or opposition? If you did, how did you manage it?
And so forth.
So does this mean that the Wal-Mart ban on Huffington Post has ended. Uh, huh, says David Tovar, the company’s vice president for communications. “They contacted us and asked if they could talk to Leslie and we agreed,” says Tovar, adding that Wal-Mart has actually been cooperating with Huffington Post “over the last few months.”
The Erik Wemple Blog is now diving into the Huffington Post archive in search of examples of the Wal-Mart detente. An early find is this story about Wal-Mart and gun control; it features this line: “When asked for comment by The Huffington Post, a spokesman referred to the press release and didn’t respond to further questions.”