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The Wal-Mart of Persuasion

Another sign bad PR is getting to Wal-Mart? The giant retailer recently tapped former Atlanta mayor and United Nations ambassador Andrew Young to head its new Working Families for Wal-Mart committee — a group charged with defending the store’s wage and health-care policies from mounting criticism by labor groups, filmmakers, and others.

“I’ve watched the attacks, and I think the critics have it wrong,” Young writes in today’s Atlanta-Journal Constitution. In Young’s telling, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton brought poor, rural folk the same goods available in big city stores at prices they can afford — a veritable modern-day retail Robin Hood. He praises the store as the nation’s largest private employer and quotes surveys showing its regular shoppers are low-income earners who “need Wal-Mart’s low prices the most.”

Young urges those who care about the poor to “step up, speak out and join this national discussion.”

So what do you say?

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