NY Times Chugs the Dr Pepper

How can The New York Times be this gullible?

The paper writes about Dr Pepper Snapple outsourcing its information technology to an Indian company but somehow comes up with the idea that this will (or, weasel word: “may”) result in more jobs in the U.S.

The story says the Indian firm, HCL Technologies, “may be hiring in the United States to do it.” Lots of “mays” here. Here’s the lede:

Even Snapple, an American iced tea maker with a homespun image, is outsourcing work to an Indian company. But in a twist, the deal may increase jobs in the United States.


HCL said that Dr Pepper Snapple would be its “anchor service desk customer” in an operation in Raleigh, N.C., that would eventually employ 500. With the new deal, HCL is continuing to “bring on new staff at our new facility in North Carolina,” Shami Khorana, president of HCL America, said in a statement.

Glad to see them hiring here. But pardon me if I find it hard to believe their spin that this will increase jobs in the U.S. How many of that 500 are directly related to Dr Pepper Snapple.

The Times acts like Dr Pepper Snapple doesn’t have any IT jobs in the U.S. But if you’re outsourcing a function, it typically means you’ve already got it, right? So it’s fair to assume that means Dr Pepper Snapple will axe its in-house IT jobs. The NYT doesn’t get into the details here.

If you’re going to rewrite press releases, especially on sensitive issues like this, you ought to be on the lookout for implausible claims. The Times doesn’t do that here.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.