Rubel Untainted In Wal-Mart Blog Scandal

Wal-Mart has been working with right wing bloggers. It’s a story. Some are up in arms over it. I don’t know who exactly, but I trust they’re out there and that they’re fuming.
Edelman, the PR firm that handles the Wal-Mart account is at the center of this debate. Especially so, due to the fact Edelman is a firm that’s invested heavily in blogging and bloggers–most recently, blogger Steve Rubel, who created Micropersuasion and a blogging practice around it at his previous firm, CooperKatz.
When this story broke, Rubel was on the road and didn’t quickly post something. Therefore, he looked to some as complacent or worse, silenced. B.L. Ochman was one who questioned.

I have to wonder if this story will give Steve Rubel pause as he starts out in Edelman’s employ. He is strangely silent on his blog, ignoring the story and the blogosphere conversation about Edelman and WalMart’s ethics.

The thing I love about this, is Rubel’s boss, Rick Murray, dropped by Ochman’s place to defend his new hire.

I have to say that as a leader, an employee and as Steve’s boss at Edelman, I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the loss of independence thing.
To be sure, anyone in the service industry has to be sensitive to whether or not her/his post is going to alienate a client.
That said, our firm’s independence, and our leadership’s beliefs mean that our size does not translate to any of our 2000 employees being conversational eunuchs.
From where I sit, this is not a “bigger is automatically badder” issue. This is 100% philosophical. Do you endorse and embrace the new rules or don’t you?

There are complicated parts to this tale. What’s not complicated is Murray’s grace under pressure. Don’t we all want a boss/friend/partner/client to defend us when it matters most?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.