Internet retailing giant Amazon.com has long had a poor reputation for its labor policies. The company, of course, denies claims that it drives employees too hard or is a high-pressure work environment, but the number and constancy of complaints by employees against Amazon certainly lends credence to the basic premise.
A couple of months ago, the New York Times published a critical article detailing numerous complaints by employees against Amazon, but the firm only offered a vague response at the time. On Monday, in a blog post on Medium, Amazon spokesperson Jay Carney finally offered a more thorough rebuttal of the NYT piece, and a few hours later NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet blasted back.
Amazon’s new effort at damage control
In his blog post, Amazon spokesperson and ex-White House press secretary Jay Carney argues that the NYT reporters Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld did not check the accuracy of the anecdotes in their article.
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“Had the reporters checked their facts, the story they published would have been a lot less sensational, a lot more balanced, and, let’s be honest, a lot more boring,” he alleges. “It might not have merited the front page, but it would have been closer to the truth.”
Response from Dean Baquet of the NYT
The exec editor of the NYT, Dean Baquet, attacked Carney’s rebuttal in his own blog. Baquet pointed out that Kantor and Streitfeld spoke with more than 100 current and former Amazon employees. He went on to say that nothing in Carney’s latest response refutes the claims in the article, adding, “This story was based on dozens of interviews. And any reading of the responses leaves no doubt that this was an accurate portrait.”
Late on Monday, Carney fired back, “thanking” Baquet for his response and claiming again that the reporters had failed to sufficiently fact-check its sources for the article.
Of note, a few days after the story was initially published, the NYT’s public editor criticized the article for relying too much on anecdotes in describing the labor problems at Amazon, but confirmed that no facts in the story were in question.