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2005-04-08
Washington, D.C. Congressman Want ABC to Drop Wal-Mart Sponsorship

Sam Walton's autobiography was titled "Made In America," but since that book was written (by a Fortune magazine editor) not much else at Wal-Mart has been U.S.A. sourced. A group of 21 members of Congress have written a letter to ABC-TV asking them to drop Wal-Mart as a sponsor of a segment called "Only in America." At the end of his lifetime, Sam Walton complained about his company's "knee jerk import buying," but after Walton died, Wal-Mart's addiction to Chinese imports only worsened. Wal-Mart has become the largest importer of Chinese goods in America today. In their letter, which was written on March 29th, the Congressman asked ABC to drop Wal-Mart as a show sponsor immediately. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D N.Y.) said Wal-Mart's sponsorship of the news feature segment on ''Good Morning America'' was an effort to boost a false impression on viewers that it supports American workers and products. "To try to allow Wal-Mart to continue to wrap itself in the American flag when it has been a company that has been hostile to so many American values is troubling,'' said Weiner. ''More and more Americans are asking about the price that we have to pay when Wal-Mart comes into a community, treats workers poorly, violates immigration laws and squashes small businesses,'' Weiner said. Congressman who signed the letter opposing Wal-Mart's sponsorship of the program are Sherrod Brown, Dennis Kucinich, Tim Ryan and Ted Strickland of Ohio; Reps. Weiner, Carolyn McCarthy, Brian Higgins and Maurice Hinchey of New York; Tom Lantos, George Miller, Linda Sanchez and Barbara Lee of California, Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone of New Jersey; Lane Evans and Janice Schakowsky of Illinois; Michael Capuano of Massachusetts; Julia Carson of Indiana, Raul Grijalva of Arizona; Peter DeFazio of Oregon; and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii. ABC vice president Jeffrey Schneider said the network had no plans to cancel Wal-Mart's sponsorship, adding the company allowed ''absolutely no overlap'' between the advertising on ABC News and its editorial content.

What you can do: This may seem like a small, symbolic act on the part of Congress, but consider it's implications. When have federal lawmakers ever asked that a retail store be dropped as an advertiser on a pro-American show. This incident illustrates the growing disillusionment with Wal-Mart, and the increasing feeling, as one article put it recently, that Wal-Mart is becoming a "cultural villain." The retailer is spending millions of dollars for an extreme makeover in the media, but the negative headlines persist. The reality is that the negative numbers will only continue to climb. The real question is, at what point will stockholders step in and ask the company to lower its rhetoric and change its business model to be friendly to communities.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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