On June 7, 2013, I sent this email to Bloomberg reporter Renee Dudley: “An anonymous tipster reports you were banned from Wal-Mart meetings all this week while other national media were allowed to cover them. Is this correct?”
Dudley referred me to a Bloomberg spokesman who confirmed that the reporter wouldn’t be in Bentonville, Arkansas, for Wal-Mart’s shareholders’ meeting.
I then called David Tovar, the retail giant’s PR guy. He said Dudley wasn’t allowed at Wal-Mart’s media week events because, he claimed, she wasn’t a fair reporter. His gripe, it seemed to me, was that she was too aggressive.
In March of 2013, Dudley wrote about Wal-Mart’s disorganized stores, empty shelves, and long checkout lines. In an April 2, 2013, follow-up, Dudley wrote that she got more than 1,000 emails from unhappy Wal-Mart customers.
In fall of 2013, Tovar accused Dudley of “having an agenda” and told CNBC that “we’ve tried to speak with her editors and it seems to fall on deaf ears.”
In June of 2014, Dudley was told that once again she wasn’t welcome at Wal-Mart’s media week events.
Last Friday, Northwest Arkansas Business Journal reported that Tovar was resigning his corporate communications position. Wal-Mart explained that he was “just ready to move on to his next adventure,” and left it at that.
Dudley, though, got the rest of the story. The PR guy who had been bad-mouthing her resigned after Wal-Mart discovered that he had falsely claimed he had a B.A. degree from the University of Delaware. He attended the school, but never graduated.
I asked Dudley about her “delicious scoop,” but she didn’t respond. Bloomberg’s spokesman says the company doesn’t have anything to say about its reporter and Tovar’s fall.
* Wal-Mart spokesman said to resign over resume falsehood (bloomberg.com)
* What?! Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar lied? (gawker.com)
* Earlier: Wal-Mart can’t stand Bloomberg’s coverage of Wal-Mart (huffingtonpost.com) | Dudley should be commended for her work (talkingbiznews.com)