Should marketers and special interest groups be able to dictate what’s allowed on TV? According to customer acquisition expert Dan Granger, the CEO and founder of a Hollywood ad agency, Oxford Road, that helps businesses obtain new clientele, the answer is a resounding, no.
Yet that’s exactly what appears to be happening across the country, as more and more businesses are recruited into the left’s growing “corporate boycotts” against anyone with a dissenting perspective, including but not limited to Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.
Not to mention Ben Shapiro:
Ben Shapiro fights back as ‘baby Hitler’ comments are twisted. Some folks see irony after Steve King slam. https://t.co/9yNIXf6j7o
— ⭐⭐⭐ Statesperson ن ?? (@statesperson) January 19, 2019
“Conservatives in media today are not under threat of state-sponsored prosecution, but instead are subject to ‘corporate boycotts’ at the direction of groups such as Media Matters, Sleeping Giants, and MoveOn.org,” Granger wrote in an op-ed last weekend for The Hill.
“Today, it is subdued, but the song remains the same: Americans in powerful positions attempt to control the speech of other Americans with whom they disagree. It’s time for us to re-examine.”
The last time this happened, Granger warned, was during the “Red Scare” back in the 1900s, when anyone merely suspected of being tied to Communism in any way, shape or form — never mind any actual evidence — was ostracized from society without due process.
Learn more about the “Red Scare” below:
The same thing appears to be happening again, except that this time the targets are anyone who says something “controversial.” Except “controversial” is now pretty much just a code word for, conservative.
But there are a couple problems with this new “Red Scare.” First, Republicans also buy goods. And thanks to them buying so many goods, companies are profiting immensely.
“The last five years have given rise to the direct brand revolution with digitally minded startups disrupting every category, resulting in hundreds of so-called unicorns — privately held companies worth more than $1 billion — many of whom grew through leveraging the power of conservative media outlets and programs,” Granger noted.
Of course, for every company earning a profit by marketing to conservatives, there is an untold number abstaining from marketing to conservatives “for fear of promoting values differing from than their own.” This, he argued, is both financially unwise and also highly “dangerous to democracy.”
“Sponsorship doesn’t mean you share values with talent. It says you wish to share your values with that talent’s audience. Carried to the extreme, identical values as a prerequisite for sponsorship means corporations dictate where free speech is acceptable and where it is not,” he wrote.
“Hold on a minute. Do we really want marketers and special interest group agendas dictating what programming lives or dies? Will we pull sponsorships from sporting events because of an athlete’s behavior? What will we do when conservative activists apply likeminded pressure toward liberal talent every time they say something controversial?”
While the rational answer to that question is ‘no,’ many folks these days have said, ‘yes.’ And in doing so, they have agreed to isolation, to echo chambers and, sadly, to more anger and division.
Watch as Fox News host Tucker Carlson responds angrily to a boycott launched against him last year:
“Political content is the modern day Western — good guys wear white hats, bad guys in black. No one bothers to consider the other side. Meanwhile, purpose-driven startups, B-Corps, and blue chips sacrifice millions of relationships with future allies, simply because they disagree with talent,” Granger opined.
Is this the best path forward for a country? How about its businesses?
“Imagine if these brands engaged with talent directly, sharing concerns, challenging positions, and giving them something to consider? If you keep writing the checks, talent will listen. If you don’t, you’re another fair-weather friend who just proves them right — in their own minds,” he wrote.
“Let’s stop pretending there is righteousness in segregation. As Lincoln, captain of his team of rivals once said, ‘Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?'”
What people want and need in this country, he continued, is unity, and that can only be achieved when people lower their defenses and come together — kind of like how conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and gay singer Elton John did in 2010:
— Varun Reddy (@varun_iiml) January 27, 2019
“Now is the time for marketers and business leaders to come out and say it: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will sponsor your right to say it,'” Granger wrote in conclusion. “Your customers and your country seek bravery from brand leaders who are unafraid to work together with people who are different, in pursuit of a united vision toward a greater good.”
Some on social media agree with the sentiment:
I’m not a Tucker fan but a great fan of #FreeSpeech. I was all for him when he stood up for free speech. I didn’t agree with what he said but defend his right to say it.
— Den Again (@DenActive) January 27, 2019
I am impressed.
This is the best article from The Hill in many years.
Mostly they write trash to appeal to haters and commies but this is almost readable.
— Alan York (@Spice0Spice) January 27, 2019
But others — all of them radical far-leftists — don’t:
Comparing advertiser pullouts from shows that have blatantly racist, sexist, etc. overtones to the red scare is ludicrous. C’mon, @thehill, at least offer a rejoinder if you’re going to publish this nonsense. (See the thread on this by @slpng_giants.) https://t.co/MBwfU8XK8u
— Joe Árvai (@DecisionLab) January 27, 2019
WTF @TheHillOpinion – red scare? This is about the public having to remind the organisations who serve them what their stated values are. In the case of Tucker – that people don’t support narratives that degrade others on the basis of gender or race – https://t.co/L4D0gGv2TJ
— mickv (@miklosvegh) January 27, 2019
It’s not about silencing some of these people, the question is whether or not a particular brand wants to be associated with clearly discriminatory attitudes regardless of those attitudes being disguised as political disagreement.
— Aubrey El (@AubreyEl1) January 27, 2019
Talk to the invisible hand.
— Mitchell Gore (@lestatdelc) January 27, 2019
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