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Is a Wal-Mart Sale CNN-Newsworthy?

This article was written by in Consumer. 13 comments.


I saw this article on CNN Money today, but I’m confused. Wal-Mart is lowering its prices on electronics items due to lackluster holiday sales so far this season. Is this considered “news?”

Perhaps this announcement has some sort of value for people who invest directly in Wal-Mart, but it seems much more like a huge national retailer with the ability to use a national news media outlet to let customers know about their sales. The article even gives the specific prices for specific items.

You know those circulars you receive in your mailboxes? Not coupons, just a sheet or two from a store describing their prices. I expect that my mailbox as junk mail or on a blog that highlights good deals, but I don’t expect it on CNN. When you’re the largest retailer, I suppose your sales constitute “news.” I don’t buy it (on several levels).

Updated February 22, 2008 and originally published November 3, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jeremy

CNN is about worthless for actually providing worthy news anymore. At any given time if you go on their site, at least half the links are to videos and about celebrities.

Just quickly looking at the site right now as of this posting, and the latest headlines talk about stranded horses, Snoop Dogg, some actress most people haven’t heard of found dead, an interview with Michael J. Fox, and a sea lion.

Is there nothing more important than those types of things going on in the world?

Just another example of how our media is more concerned about entertainment value and advertising dollars than actually informing people of what is really going on.

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avatar Steve

I think it’s relevant to mention that Wal-Mart is reducing prices due to slower demand. Wal-Mart is so enormous that its business has become an indicator for the entire retail sector of the economy. That said, the fact that they’re listing actual prices does seem a little weird and unnecessary.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

Steve: Then make the story about slower demand, not about one store’s specific discounts. If I want to know they’ve reduced the price of a wide screen television by $500, I’ll check their website or a TV commercial… not a news story.

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avatar Steve

Flexo, I agree completely. Like I said, it seems rather strange that they would need to get into specific discounts.

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avatar Golbguru

I agree with Jeremey above. You know it sounds like those days when a blogger has no fresh ideas…and pulls out stuff/links from nowhere to make that desperate post of the day.

CNN really needs some fresh reporting talents.

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avatar Nagel

CNN has gone down hill since Ted Turner left. They have gone the way of Fox News and no longer are a legitimate overall news source.
All you have to do is watch The Daily Show and they will give snippets of ridiculous subjects that CNN claims as news.

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avatar Dimes

When you have continuous news reporting but not continuous news, non-events get sensationalized just so people have something to watch.
I remember one morning a window washer scaffolding broke in LA (we were in Georgia at the time) and Fox News covered the story for almost an hour because nothing else at all was going on.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

There are 6 billion people in the world. I don’t believe there isn’t a moment when something non-newsworthy is going on. I believe there are enough newsworthy things going on at any one moment that are accessible to news organizations.

Fox News chose to cover the story about the scaffolding not because there was nothing else going on, but because some news producer made the choice to cover that instead of one of many other possible stories.

It’s a choice of what to cover at any particular time, and that choice is certainly ore flexible on websites, where more than one story can be highlighted at a time. So the issue about the Wal-Mart article is slightly different. Lesser important stories can make the website, but the story itself was more like an advertisement flyer you receive as junk mail.

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avatar Gary Bourgeault (managersrealm.com)

It’s important because every other retailer in America was waiting to see what their profits were going to be for the season; they just found out.

Also, Wal-Mart screwed up with their attempt to offer trendy women’s clothing that backfired on them, one of the reasons they didn’t grow at all this quarter.

One thing for sure, a lot of people won’t have to spend as much this Christmas.

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avatar Special Ed

There is plenty of news, but CNN, like any other revenue generating – ratings sensitive “news” outlet, doesn’t bother with things that turn off viewers. Sometimes there is no missing white girl or killing rampage to cover, but they must fill time with something the viewer will not turn off. Are they going to talk about the ballooning trade and budget deficits? I don’t think so. They talk about Madonna and her new African baby (they are all the rage) or pictures of Tom Cruise’s new baby, or who Brad Pitt is dating this week. Anything but the boring, old, real news that no one wants to hear.

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avatar S/100/30

Steve: Then make the story about slower demand, not about one store’s specific discounts.

It’s highly relevant; money.com just missed the important angle. This movement by WalMart is a big first step toward making the day after Thanksgiving irrelevant, shopping-wise. A longer, more gradual start to the holiday-buying season has all sorts of financial reverberations.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

The concept is relevant. Perhaps even the type of merchandise being discounted is relevant. The details regarding the specific pricing of specific items named by brand and model number in the article are irrelevant. CNN’s angle was way off.

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avatar S/100/30

The details regarding the specific pricing of specific items named by brand and model number in the article are irrelevant.

Is it? I am not a hands-on investor*, but if I were I’d want concrete examples so I could compare other prices to WalMart’s and get a sense of just how deep they were discounting.

(* Meaning the type who picks individual stocks, as opposed to investing in funds. I’m sure there’s a name for that?)

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