Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Oh cool, Amazon is dictating the local news now

Illustration for article titled Oh cool, Amazon is dictating the local news now
Photo: Ina Fassbender (Getty Images)

Amazon, the company so secure in its public image that it gets swarms of fake Twitter accounts to defend it on social media, wants everyone to think it’s treating its employees really well during the pandemic despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. At this point, most people know that Amazon regularly conducts business like a cartoon supervillain, but that doesn’t mean it’ll give up on trying to PR-manage its way into a better reputation.

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The latest instance of this is an attempt to get local news broadcasters on its side by supplying them, as anchor Zach Rael shows, with a “pre-edited news story and script” that makes it seem like they’re a real stand-up megacorp.

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Jason Hackett, another anchor, responded to Rael’s tweet by asking: “Would anyone actually run this?!”

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You would hope Hackett’s disbelief would be well-founded, but The Verge reports that the PR script issued from the bowels of God-Emperor Bezos’ secret lair was picked up by plenty of stations. This is made very clear in a real ipecac-dose of a video that collects examples of the script shown above being read verbatim by various anchors.

That so many broadcasters were happy to help Amazon with its image rehab project isn’t a total surprise, but it does, in short, suck tremendous ass. Rather than reject the pre-written script for what it is—a transparent attempt to use the media as a more legitimate-seeming arm of the corporation—each of these stations happily played along, spreading disinformation in a moment where the life and death stakes of their work has never been more obvious.

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With that cheery thought in mind, you can read more about all of this evil trash by checking out The Verge’s full story.

UPDATE: An Amazon spokesperson has addressed the report, saying in an e-mail to The A.V. Club that the video they shared with news stations was not meant to be promotional, nor was anyone featured in it paid.

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“We welcome reporters into our buildings and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise,” says the spokesperson in a likely reference to Rael’s tweet. “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.” 

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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