Restating The Obvious.
I don't know the truth of what happened in the Edelman/WalMart blogging debacle. Like everyone, I can hazard my own biased guesses, but that doesn't get us anywhere. However, it seems to me that certain fundamental truths have to be restated. All markets are conversations, so all marketing must adhere to conversational etiquette.
The fundamental tenets of that etiquette (and how they were flouted in this case) are as follows:
All blogging should be transparent. Its authorship should be obvious and linked to any commercial interests concerned. Company sponsorship or support of a third-party blog should be explicitly stated on the front page.
If you tout a code of conduct as some sort of self-promotional marketing marque, that code should involve punishments and you should suffer for your transgressions. If not, it and you are devalued.
When a problem emerges, people are speaking to you and it is basic conversational courtesy to at least acknowledge them swiftly. Don't stay silent while some laborious internal enquiry takes place.
If you hire an executive to specialise in social networking then, regardless of the reality, it will ring untrue if they claim ignorance of a blog. It's tough, but every initiative in which you're involved must cross their desk.
Cock-up or conspiracy - the impact is the same and ignoring these tenets is what gets marketing a bad name.