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Wal-Mart Doc Creates More Controversy

23 Nov, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Director Robert Greenwald is giddy at all the attention directed at his new documentary Wal-Mart: The High Price of Low Cost, which streeted Nov. 15 on DVD from the Disinformation Company.

“I am neurotic, Jewish and from New York, so I am not predisposed to celebrate, but last week was amazing,” he wrote in his e-mail newsletter.

Greenwald also announced he will be selling copies of the Wal-Mart-critical DVD on his activist Web site www.walmartmovie.com. A box of five DVDs goes for $50, with free shipping anywhere in the United States.

“This is an amazing deal and about as low as we can go and still keep the lights on, so please give the gift that just might change where people buy their own holiday presents,” Greenwald wrote in his e-mail newsletter.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart launched a new counterattack against the documentary. An internal Wal-Mart memo sent to store managers from company EVP Pat Curran the week before the doc streeted includes a script for management. Managers were instructed to present it at “regularly scheduled general meetings, beginning immediately and continuing through all shifts and schedules.”

The script calls Greenwald's documentary a “90-minute attack ad.”

“We believe they want to hurt out company's growth, sales momentum for the fourth-quarter holiday season and, ultimately, each and every associate,” the script said. “Our critics will take everything they can and use it against us.”

The script also refutes claims in Greenwald's documentary that Wal-Mart tries to get rid of long-term employees and responded to the film's critique of the company's health care policy.

“We realize that as the largest employer in the U.S., we have the responsibility to take a more active role in health care. That is why we are looking at these issues,” the script reads.

The memo also points out that the packet of materials that went to the media last month was originally a fact-gathering document intended for a board of directors presentation.

“A draft copy of a report to the board of directors was obtained by an anti-Wal-Mart organization that has used it to continue their campaign to damage our reputation,” the memo reads. “The media picked up on the story, and we have seen many different interpretations of what this memo supposedly means.”

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