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Wal-Mart-Linked PR Officer Poses as Journalist to Workers

HeadlineJun 18, 2012

An employee of a public relations firm tied to the corporate giant Wal-Mart has been found to have posed as a reporter at a news conference about poor labor conditions at major retailers. Stephanie Harnett, a publicist for the company Mercury Communications, claimed she was student journalist “Zoe Mitchell” when she attended a media briefing on a recent report highlighting the practices of companies like Wal-Mart. The report, called “Chain of Greed,” singled out Wal-Mart for maintaining low wages and poor workplace conditions in a network of subcontracted labor. At the news conference, Harnett, posing as Mitchell, approached at least two workers and got them to reveal detailed information about themselves under the guise she was interested in reporting their story. Mitchell’s employer, Mercury Communications, claims neither it nor Wal-Mart authorized her stunt.

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