Amazon vs. The New York Times, part 2

Amazon chose to respond to The New York Times reporting (from last August) about the company’s relentless employee culture — two months after the fact. And the Times, naturally, responded to the response. Today’s RetailWire discussion asks the question: Was it smart on Amazon’s part to stir up the controversy two months later, either from an HR or PR perspective? Here’s my take:

Jeff Bezos’s initial response was, essentially, that the Amazon described in the original article was not the company he knew. But the reporting painted a convincing picture of his company’s culture — fair or unfair in his view — that might have caused a period of introspection.

Amazon chose not to take that route, but instead to re-ignite the controversy with Carney’s comments. It’s not surprising that the New York Times moved quickly to defend its reporters and reporting, although Amazon may have been caught by surprise by the speed and forcefulness of the reponse.

Bottom line: Amazon may have been smarter to look in the mirror first, and to announce some reforms, but that doesn’t appear to be the Bezos way. “Take no prisoners” is more like it.


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