Several TV stations in the United States recently ran a media package provided by Amazon that promotes the company's "health and safety efforts" amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, Courier reports.
According to the media outlet, while one of these stations - Toledo ABC affiliate WTVG – did acknowledge that the content's author Todd Walker is an Amazon employee, at least 8 stations ran the content in question as a "news package", some of them running it twice or even thrice.
Amazon's media package was apparently released ahead of the company's annual shareholders meeting where investors were planning to press Amazon on its coronavirus safety measures, with CNBC pointing out that while the company "has repeatedly declined to disclose how many warehouse employees have died from the coronavirus", it has confirmed eight deaths "as they were reported by various media outlets".
Wes Armstead, news director of the Bluefield NBC affiliate WVVA, which ran the aforementioned content, later told Courier that he "was not aware the package was provided by Amazon".
"We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again", he added.
Other TV stations reportedly did not return the media outlet's requests for comment regarding this matter.
Meanwhile, an Amazon spokesperson announced that the video and script in question were published on Business Wire.
"We welcome reporters into our buildings and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise,” the company said in a statement. “This type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we’ve rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren’t able to come tour one of our sites themselves."