At least 11 local TV stations in the US aired the same segment word-for-word on US ecommerce giant Amazon, according to a striking YouTube video posted by US news agency Courier.
The segments went on to praise Amazon’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, noting the firm has “transformed its operations.”
Here you go! They all fell for it!https://t.co/clzSytKThc— Bret Buganski (@Bret_Buganski) May 27, 2020
“I was extremely proud of my team and the way they were handling the situation on a daily basis, ready to embrace change,” Marty Kuhl, site leader at an Amazon Fulfillment Center said in the video.
Following the posting of Courier’s video however, highlighting the identical videos, viewers were outraged at the posting of a seemingly piece of public relation material without disclosure.
The problem is that these purport to be news stories. A *real* news story would, for instance, examine safety issues and Amazon's treatment of workers. It would not uncritically parrot the company's talking points.— some pulp (@richzito) May 27, 2020
Yikes! This is creepy, but it also shows how powerful Amazon knows the news media to be. You have a lot of power too as a PO! just got to get your messages in synch on the small screen and on repeat. Nbd. 😅— Camila Chaudron (@CamChaudron) May 27, 2020
The content seems to have originated from a public relations document sent around to media companies in the US by Amazon. Overall, the segment seemed to praise Amazon for its response to the coronavirus even as the company has come under scrutiny for its workplace practices during the viral pandemic.
“This type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we’ve rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren’t able to come tour one of our sites themselves,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Guardian, the UK news organization reported.
“We welcome reporters into our buildings and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise,” the spokeswoman added.