"Wal-Mart: The New Washington" in the Sunday Week in Review is another ironic celebration by business reporter Michael Barbaro of the "retailing behemoth" (his words) learning to play the Washington game by going native and pleasing liberalsin order todefenditself from further regulation.
In Wal-Mart we trust? After years of criticism that it was a poor corporate citizen and miserly employer, maybe.
The company's transformation from a laggard to a leader on issues like health care and the environment can arguably be traced to two epiphanies. The first was that a wave of negative publicity threatened to alienate consumers and block the opening of new stores.
For decades, Wal-Mart was associated with low wages, skimpy health insurance coverage and poor treatment of workers - and not without reason. An internal memorandum in 2005 showed that though Wal-Mart earned $10 billion a year, 46 percent of its workers' children were uninsured or on Medicaid.
Relying only on Barbaro's liberally slanted stories,one wouldget the impression that Wal-Mart was in fact in the business of health care provider, not discount retailer.