Public Relations 101: Taking the Battle to D.C.

In a third-floor office suite in downtown Washington, Wal-Mart staff members are planning a public-opinion counteroffensive. The retailer, once focused only on keeping its shelves stocked and its prices low, is doubling the size of its Washington lobbying operation. It is touting its charitable deeds, backed by a national advertising campaign and a website called Why? Because across town, a group of twentysomething activists working for a union-backed organization called Wake-Up Wal-Mart is preparing attacks on the corporate giant's reputation. In the group's office, littered with handwritten signs like THEY PROFIT, YOU PAY, is a map tracking the...

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