Sunday, January 8, 2017

"A new consumer movement is rising"

"In the old normal, it would have cost little to stand up against neo-Nazi slogans. But in the new normal, doing so might involve angering key players in the White House, including the president-elect, Donald J. Trump, who has hired the former editor of Breitbart as his senior adviser. Mr. Trump recently proved the damage he could do to a company by criticizing Lockheed Martin on Twitter; soon after, its stocks prices tumbled.
"Still, a new consumer movement is rising, and activists believe that where votes failed, wallets may prevail. This struggle is about much more than ads on Breitbart News — it’s about using corporations as shields to protect vulnerable people from bullying and hate crimes."
A long NYT article "How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News" by Pagan Kennedy describes efforts to inform large corporations when their ads appear on right-wing fake news sites: especially Breitbart News. The article describes how this effort is proceeding:
"In the past month and a half, thousands of activists have started to push companies to take a stand on what you might call 'hate news' — a toxic mix of lies, white-supremacist content and bullying that can inspire attacks on Muslims, gay people, women, African-Americans and others.
"In mid-November, a Twitter group called Sleeping Giants became the hub of the new movement. The Giants and their followers have communicated with more than 1,000 companies and nonprofit groups whose ads appeared on Breitbart, and about 400 of those organizations have promised to remove the site from future ad buys."
It started with Kellogg's -- which removed its ads from Breitbart and was then the target of both negative and positive consumer actions. (I bought two boxes of Kellogg's cereal this week. Unfortunately I didn't like one of them very much.) But it's an ongoing effort, and I hope it will work. As far as I'm concerned the problem is that in order to see the ads you have to look at despicable websites, which profit the minute you open them. What a world!

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