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"But some bloggers have posted information from Wal-Mart, at times word for word, without revealing where it came from."
And now, for some real-time equal time, is Brian Pickrell of Iowa Voice:
"Looks like my hunch was correct when I said [Barbaro] was writing a hit piece . . . only it was hit piece directed, for the most part, at me. . . .
"I get a ton of email from a bunch of different sources. If I run a post specifically using information contained within an email, I will say so (you can see numerous instances of this being the case). Likewise, if I quote somebody or something, it's in a quote box. That's how blogs work (apparently, he didn't understand that). . . .
"Notice the part in question is in a . . . quote box . That means that I didn't write it . As for who sent it, I don't recall. . . . I knew that Michael Barbaro was going to write this piece of dung called a news article. I was reluctant to even talk to him, given the history of the NYTs and blogs/bloggers. I see I was correct in my reluctance. Never again, brother."
On the other hand, Pickrell, who attributed one item from a Wal-Mart flack to a "reader," was quoted by the Times as saying: "I probably cut and paste a little bit and I should not have."
Bob Beller at Crazy Politico's Rantings was also involved:
"When the article was in the works I pointed out to Mr. Barbaro that just like newspaper sources, Wal-Mart was going to a place they felt they'd get a sympathetic ear. . . . The WalMartWatch.Com folks didn't send the info the Washington Times because it probably wasn't going to be sympathetic to their cause.
"The news business has run this way for years, find a paper or reporter that will listen, and bomb them with tips, hoping a few percolate into print. The difference with blogging is that there isn't as much editorial rework in our writings as happens in news papers, I don't' have a word count to worry about. Admittedly, I could probably use an editor at times. . . .
"The portion of my story that didn't make it into print, and I feel is relevant, is that though I shop at Wal-Mart regularly, I don't blog about them because I agree with them on everything. I blog about them because I disagree with groups like Wal-Mart Watch, and the unions who fund them. I don't think the mainstream media, in any form, has taken to exposing who's behind them as hard as they should."
The aforementioned Jeff Jarvis , Buzz Machine blogger and NYT consultant, has some views on this:
"First, I suggest you read the story and substitute the name of your local newspaper for any reference to bloggers. Remember that PR companies have been reaching out to reporters since they were born; that is why their industry exists. Today we have search-engine optimization companies; back then, we had press optimization companies.