Cashing in objective reporting for editorial commentary, CNN business reporter Ali Velshi and anchor Miles O’Brien rang in the November 16 edition of “American Morning” with a few swipes at Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT), the nation’s largest retailer and a favored target of labor unions.
“Wal-Mart's back in the news. The company everybody kind of loves to hate,” business correspondent Ali Velshi began his 7:25 a.m. “Minding Your Business” segment on the November 16 “American Morning.”
Velshi made those comments in his report on potential 2008 Democratic presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) joining in a November 15 conference call with WakeUpWalMart.com, an anti-Wal-Mart group backed by labor unions.
Responding to Velshi’s report, O’Brien concluded that the retailer is “a great place to shop” but that it “is not the best place in the world to work.”
The CNN anchor didn’t cite any studies or employee surveys to back up his assertion.
What’s more, while Velshi’s story centered on Democrats like Edwards and Obama hoping to make Wal-Mart a political bogeyman, he neglected to remind viewers that a poll conducted before the midterm elections found voters had a distaste for politicians who made Wal-Mart a big campaign issue.
The poll, commissioned by Working Families for Wal-Mart and conducted by RT Strategies a month before the November election, found 68 percent of respondents answered in the negative when asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of political candidates making Wal-Mart an issue in the upcoming elections?”
“It’s clear this union leader attack campaign does far more to anger and annoy than it does to motivate,” Democratic pollster Thom Riehle was quoted in a Working Families news release.
Velshi featured BusinessWeek’s Eamon Javers arguing that “we just got our first piece of evidence that Barack Obama is running for president as a Democrat” because “he’s already out there sucking up to the unions.”
The Working Families poll, however, found 80 percent of union households believed attacking Wal-Mart “should not be the top priority for union leaders” and “only 1 percent said Wal-Mart was the ‘one issue’” that mattered most in determining their vote in the November elections.