WAY back on August 15, the New York Times posted a crushing story about working for Amazon. The article was full of damaging quotes like “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk” — which cam from former marketing exec Bo Olson.
Well today — that would be October 19 — Amazon spokesman Jay Carney posted a lengthy — and pretty convincing response on some obscure website we never heard of before. But the counterpunch comes 65 days after Amazon got its nose bloodied by the NYT.
As Carney must know from his days as White House spokesman, when something significantly bad is said about your organization in the media — you need to respond in a matter of hours not months.
There is a lot of what appear to be good information from Amazon’s point of view — in Carney’s response. Like the guy who was quoted by the Times about folks crying at their desks — Amazon says “his brief tenure at Amazon ended after an investigation revealed he had attempted to defraud vendors and conceal it by falsifying business records. When confronted with the evidence, he admitted it and resigned immediately.”
It took Amazon two months to remember this? If true (and the NYT is now disputing it in the same venue) — that should have be put out within hours of the initial story. Perhaps Amazon’s lawyers didn’t want this information out there — after all, if Bo Olson attempted to defraud vendors — why was he simply allowed to resign rather than have criminal charges filed?”
Carney uses another effective tactic — including in his post quotes from one of the NYT reporters to Amazon officials while she was working on the story that takes an entirely different tone than the eventual story — and suggests that the Times journalists might have misled the company’s officials. Always a good idea to try to get in writing the operating premise of a story — to later be able to show if you have been subjected to a “bait and switch.”
But again — it took more than two months to find that incoming?
And finally – what’s up with Amazon posting their response on Medium.com? If the New York Times refuses to run your response on their pages — use some of Jeff Bezos’ billions to buy and advertisement in the Times and let the paper’s reader’s know you think they have been kept in the dark by “The Gray Lady.” We bet Amazon might have been able to craft an OPED attacking the NYT and convince a publication like the Washington Post (coincidentally owned by Bezos) — to run it. In any case — the slowness of Amazon’s delivering a response is hard to fathom.
It is true that Carney was out responding to the NYT story in some limited way in the days immediately following the initial story — but the company failed in its fulfillment requirements — by not responding MUCH more quickly.