Independent committee sings Wal-Mart's praises

WASHINGTON: A newly formed independent group is launching a pro-Wal-Mart media campaign, with some financial support from the retail giant.

WASHINGTON: A newly formed independent group is launching a pro-Wal-Mart media campaign, with some financial support from the retail giant.

The group, Working Families for Wal-Mart, which aims to generate "balanced media coverage," includes singer Pat Boone, Rep. Jennifer Carroll of Jacksonville, FL, and independent filmmaker Ron Galloway, who last year released the documentary Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People Crazy, at the same time an anti-Wal-Mart documentary was released. The group said it will convey its messages via press releases.

While Wal-Mart is lending financial support to the committee, it said it has no control over the group. Some reports claim Wal-Mart is the group's largest financial backer.

Bob McAdam, VP of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart, said Working Families for Wal-Mart is its own separate entity.

"We offer the organization some financial support, but that is the extent of it," McAdam stressed.

Courtney Lynch, a member of the committee and founder of Fairfax, VA-based Lead Star, a company that provides executive-leadership training to women, said the group isn't looking for a firefight with anti-Wal-Mart groups.

"This is a good-faith effort," Lynch said. "We're made up of people who have good stories to tell about Wal-Mart."

Lynch provided training for Wal-Mart employees and it was her experience there that led her to want to be a part of this group.

McAdam said there are currently no plans to use testimonials from the group in any of Wal-Mart's advertising.

"Right now there are no plans for that type of thing," McAdam said. "But I can't tell you that we'd never use something from them. This thing is still getting itself off the ground, so we have to see what happens."

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