With 2949 stores across the country, Wal-Mart is a leading seller ó and, in many rural areas, the only seller ó of DVDs and videotapes. So when the Bentonville, ArkansasĖbased behemoth decides not to carry a title already proven to have widespread appeal, itís not just a business decision. It borders on censorship.
Such is the case with Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, an hourlong documentary that has been causing buzz since late last year, and that began showing up in retail outlets this week (see "Media," This Just In, March 26). Last Friday, Lakshmi Chaudry, a senior editor at AlterNet.org, posted a blog item reporting that Anderson Merchandising, which handles videos and music for Wal-Mart, "has told the distributor of the movie that the film is inappropriate" for the chain.
No doubt Uncovered doesnít fit with Wal-Martís conservative image, seeing that it criticizes the Bush administration for misrepresenting Saddam Husseinís weapons capabilities and his alleged ties to Al Qaeda. But that doesnít mean Wal-Mart shoppers might not want to pick up a copy.
Anne Sullivan, marketing director for the Disinformation Company, which is handling distribution, told the Phoenix that sheís been informed that Wal-Mart initially refused to carry Uncovered, but is now rethinking that decision. "Our order is on hold," she said. "We donít know whether itís going to go through or not."
Wal-Mart did not return a call seeking comment. Neither Robert Greenwald, who directed Uncovered, nor Chaudry could be reached before press time. But the advice Chaudry offers on the AlterNet blog is worth passing along: if you think Wal-Mart should carry Uncovered, call the company at (479) 273-4000, or send Wal-Mart an e-mail through its Web site at http://www.walmartstores.com/. Click on "Contact Us," at the bottom of the page.
Issue Date: April 2 - 8, 2004
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