The Minneapolis Star Tribune reprints an article from the Washington Post under the headline “U.S. companies get dragged into a volatile political climate.” The article centers on Kellogg, which stirred outrage when it announced that it was blocking advertising on Breitbart.com because Breitbart isn’t “aligned with our values as a company.”
There was a lot of pushback from conservatives, including us, but does that mean that Kellogg was “dragged into” a political controversy? No. Kellogg issued a press release bragging about the fact that it has gone out of its way to see that its ads, which are purchased in bulk and appear on many thousands of web sites, are now blocked from appearing on Breitbart.com. Kellogg could have installed the blocking algorithm and said nothing, in which case there would have been no controversy. The controversy stemmed entirely from Kellogg’s effort to curry favor with the Left by insulting conservatives.
Of course, the Washington Post shares Kellogg’s political perspective, and therefore its reporting is myopic.
Kellogg said last week it was pulling advertising from Breitbart News, the far-right website that its critics say trades in racist and sexist content.
The assertion that Breitbart is “far-right” is ridiculous. It is a mainstream conservative site of a certain stripe. The site and its chief executive Steve Bannon are closely aligned with the man who has just been elected President of the United States. Would the Post describe news sources aligned with Hillary Clinton as far left? I don’t think so.
And, as always, the “critics say” dodge is the pathetic resort of a bad reporter. If the Post has evidence that Breitbart.com “trades in racist and sexist content,” let’s see it. Critics say the Washington Post is a shill for the Democratic Party, not a legitimate news organization. (For a reminder of how the Post publishes fake news in order to serve the Democratic Party’s agenda, go here, here and here.)
“I’ve never seen anything like this before, where companies find themselves so open to attack for their points of view or their speech,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist for the public relations firm Weber Shandwick. “Companies are now much more in the fray and seen as political targets.”
I’ve never seen anything like this before, where companies publicly align themselves with a failing political party, and go out of their way to insult the majority of Americans.
In Kellogg’s case, the breakfast giant said its decision to pull ads from Breitbart “had nothing to do with politics.”
Transparently false backtracking.
According to Digiday, other companies, including Allstate insurance and Warby Parker eyeware, have also withdrawn ads [from Breitbart.com], and may not have been aware of the ads, which are not bought directly from Breitbart but are referred to as “retargeted” advertising that follow users from site to site on the internet.
So they, too, have gone out of their way to boycott Breitbart rather than treating it like any other web site. Don’t buy insurance from Allstate or glasses from Warby Parker.
The explosive response, advisers say, is leaving many companies paralyzed by the potential ramifications of their words or actions, particularly in an environment where traditionally routine topics or actions have become politicized.
Yes, routine actions like taking a shower or going to the bathroom. One possibility, of course, is to say nothing on political topics that don’t specifically relate to the company.
This also comes at a time when many companies have been more willing to speak out on political and social issues they had once avoided. More than 200 corporations, for instance, signed a letter by the Human Rights Campaign earlier this year demanding that North Carolina repeal a law that limits bathroom options for transgender people…
But wait! My own bathroom options are “limited” in exactly the same way! As are yours. Do these people even read the stuff they write?
…with some even pulling expansion plans from the state, including PayPal and Deutsche Bank. More companies tout their commitments to diversity, the environment and gender equality, often promoting these to help connect with customers who increasingly make purchases based on their values.
Note that every instance cited by the Post is liberal. Why, exactly, are so many companies anxious to align themselves with the Left, which has been losing elections all across the United States in recent years? That seems like a foolhardy strategy.
Maybe part of the explanation is that the CEOs and PR people at these companies have been relying on out-of-touch sources like the Washington Post and the New York Times for their news, and actually believed that liberal positions were overwhelmingly popular. Stranger things have happened. I wonder how many elections it will take to disabuse them of that notion.