Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Spin, or, What Ever Became Of Jay Carney

Where do spokes-folk go after they've had their fill of the Washington DC press corps?

In Jay Carney's case, they join Amazon and spin for Jeff Bezos. The perks are probably better and he doesn't have to stand before the clamoring masses flinging questions intended to trip him up.

Last August, the New York Times published a scathing expose of workplace conditions for Amazon's white collar workers. There had already been other reports about the slave-driving of the warehouse class, so why not give the office denizens their turn to vent. The story garnered attention, to be sure, with claims that anonymous employee reviews were used to stab fellow toilers in a battle to win promotions. Others sobbed at their desks, so pressurized to workworkworkwork for Almighty Amazon that they broke.

All in all, it was a nightmare scenario that was painted by journalists Jodi Kantor and David Streitfield.

Now, months later, former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has come forward with the rebuttal, and he is equally scathing.

A spin doctor who came under steady fire for his entire tenure knows how to dodge verbal bullets and lob a few literary grenades of his own, and so his reply to the NYT is filled with accusations of lies, lies, more lies, damn lies, and possibly statistics.

Spin it, Jay, spin it like your job depends on the spin. And stop crying at your desk
Who did the journalists rely on for their inside knowledge, one should wonder, and Mr. Carney tells us that the person who called out Amazon's wretched culture was actually a disgruntled former employee who was caught stealing and admitted his crime.

That's quite the accusation, to name names and cast aspersions on Bo Olson. Defrauded vendors, tried to cover it up, and when caught he quit his job.

But did Ms. Kantor or Mr. Streitfield mention that little bit of back story? No, indeed, those pathetic excuses for journalists who soiled the Old Grey Lady's reputation for probing investigative reporting. Didn't do the proper fact checking, those two, and didn't Jay guide them through the Amazon headquarters out in Seattle and treat them well? Probably kept them supplied with plenty of coffee and witty anecdotes of his Obama years, but where was the gratitude?

Gratitude aside, where was the spin that Mr. Carney put on his presentation, and where was the puff piece he thought they would create? Why, he was tricked, he claims. What he thought would be written was the opposite of what did get published, and all because the journalists relied on a would-be thief instead of former White House official Jay Carney.

What does the New York Times think of his screed? Well, as you'd expect, a lot of words are getting tossed across the ether in a digital exchange. Dean Baquet has parried the thrust, informing Mr. Carney (and everyone else) that the reporters spoke to a great many people and a great many people expressed similar comments about grueling work conditions so it wasn't just the one disgruntled employee it was many employees and the reporters found a pattern. Not a one-off, Mr. Carney, so there, take that and spin it.

Where will the next assault come from? Will Amazon return fire? Jeff Bezos does, after all, own the Washington Post and there's no telling how he might use his arsenal of ink.

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