Amazon is taking proactive action ahead of Wednesday’s annual shareholder's meeting at which investors plan on demanding the company address worker safety issues after at least eight warehouse employees have died of Covid-19, by pushing a propaganda package to local news outlets that promote the corporation’s health and safety efforts.
While most journalists and media professionals frown upon the idea of running essentially "sponsored content" as news, at least 10 stations across the country ran some form of the package on their news broadcasts. The package—you can view the script Amazon provided to news stations here—was produced by Amazon spokesperson Todd Walker. Only one station, Toledo ABC affiliate WTVG, acknowledged that Walker was an Amazon employee, not a news reporter.
In response to a request for comment on why the station ran the package, Wes Armstead, news director of the Bluefield NBC affiliate WVVA, told COURIER, “I was not aware the package was provided by Amazon.” Armstead said, “We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”