Amazon posts blistering response to critical New York Times article

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Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos looks on during an event organised in New Delhi on October 1, 2014. The "Creating an enabling environment for SMEs in the digital economy" event was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. (GETTY IMAGES)

NEW YORK — Two months after a damning New York Times story about Amazon’s corporate culture, the retailer has posted a blistering response. It accuses the paper of misrepresenting the company.

On Monday, Amazon accused the Times of failing to check its facts and published information about ex-employees to buttress its case.

Amazon also published an email from the lead reporter of the story, Jodi Kantor, and implied that she misled the company’s P.R. people about her intent.

“The article she specifically said they were not writing became the article that we all read,” Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president for global corporate affairs, wrote in a Medium blog post.

Carney was a journalist at Time magazine for two decades and later became President Obama’s spokesman. He joined Amazon earlier this year.

In his blog post, he detailed the employment history of Bo Olson, a former Amazon employee who was quoted in the article as saying “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”

The story said Olson “lasted less than two years in a book marketing role and said that his enduring image was watching people weep in the office, a sight other workers described as well.”

According to Carney, Olson’s “brief tenure at Amazon ended after an investigation revealed he had attempted to defraud vendors and conceal it by falsifying business records. When confronted with the evidence, he admitted it and resigned immediately.”

Carney asks, “Why weren’t readers given that information?,” and questions the editorial process at The Times.

“(H)ad the reporters checked their facts, the story they published would have been a lot less sensational, a lot more balanced, and, let’s be honest, a lot more boring,” Carney wrote. “It might not have merited the front page, but it would have been closer to the truth.”

The Times did not immediately have a response to the blog post on Monday morning. Olson wasn’t immediately reachable.

Carney wrote that the retailer “presented the Times with our findings several weeks ago, hoping they might take action to correct the record. They haven’t, which is why we decided to write about it ourselves.”