I am going to stock up tomorrow on Kellogg’s cereal! Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran … the works! My family rarely eats cereal, and we have a pantry of assorted cereals as it is. I will probably end up giving it away to somebody who does eat cereal. But I am going to buy boxes and boxes of Kellogg’s cereal! Why, you ask? Because I want to support companies who stand up for a certain set of humanitarian values, and that is what Kellogg’s did.
On Tuesday, the Kellogg Company pulled all their advertisements from Breitbart, saying that Breitbart was not aligned with their values.
“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” Kris Charles, a spokeswoman for Kellogg’s, told Bloomberg. “We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site.”
Kellogg’s is not the first, either. Other companies have pulled ads from the site, including Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker, SoFi and the investment group Vanguard. Many did not realize they were advertising on Breitbart because their ad campaigns are run through automated systems which distribute ads across a large network of sites.
Breitbart was not too happy about this news, predictably. Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow called for a boycott of the company’s products, saying: “For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice.” He further claimed that the move represents “an escalation in the war by leftist companies … against conservative customers”.
Steve Bannon, former CEO of Breitbart and now Trump’s senior advisor, boasted that Breitbart is “the platform for the alt-right”, a far-right political movement with links to white supremacist organizations. In recent months, Breitbart has published misogynist stories such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy”, and “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism Or Cancer?”, and anti-Muslim stories like “Data: Young Muslims In The West Are A Ticking Time-Bomb”. Is it any wonder that a company like Kellogg’s, that has been around since 1906 … 110 years, or 101 years longer than Breitbart, is appalled by this form of yellow journalism? Kellogg and the other companies have a reputation to uphold, and I am pleased to see that they still retain certain values. I hope more companies will follow suit and do the same.
AppNexus Inc., operator of one of the biggest digital advertising services, has barred Breitbart News from using its ad-serving tools because it violated its hate speech rules. The digital ad firm decided the publication had breached a policy against content that incites violence, said AppNexus spokesman Joshua Zeitz. “We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language,” he said.
Some examples of recent Breitbart headlines:
- The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off
- Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew
- Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage
- Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet
- Science proves it: Fat-shaming works
- There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews
Is it any wonder that companies like Kellogg do not want their name associated with this media outlet? The only thing that surprises me is that it took them this long to make the decision.
Trump responded to the news by saying that Breitbart was just a publication that covers stories like any other news organization. Oh, I don’t think that is true! Look again at the headlines above. Now imagine if the New York Times published any one of those stories! The indignation would be high, and I guarantee advertisers would begin pulling their ads immediately!
The good news is that this may signal the beginning of the end for Breitbart, which would be no loss to anyone, except perhaps da trumpeter in whose pocket they reside. While the government cannot censor Breitbart under the Constitutional 1st Amendment, there can still be consequences for their hate speech and bigotry. The move by Kellogg and others speak volumes – it says that respect for others is not dead, as many of us had feared. It says that, although these companies are in business to make a profit, they also understand that their customers deserve better and they must maintain a higher standard. Other companies, however, like Google and Facebook, although both have policies banning hate speech, have not yet withdrawn from Breitbart.
There is a Twitterer called Sleeping Giants that has begun a campaign to convince other advertisers to withdraw their ads from Breitbart. I do not use Twitter as a rule, though I have an account, but I did get on and check this out. What they recommend is:
- Look on Breitbart and take a screenshot of an ad
- Tweet it to the advertiser with a polite note
I applaud Sleeping Giants for their effort and sincerely hope the movement takes hold and thousands of people do what the tweet suggests! We The People have power, we have a voice, and we can, in the words of the late Nancy Reagan, “Just say NO” to racism, hate speech and those who support it, whether directly or indirectly. The only downfall to Sleeping Giants’ suggestion is that you have to actually visit Breitbart’s online site. I did this tonight in preparation for this post, and was sickened by almost every story. Even the most innocuous stories take on an aura of hate when reported by Breitbart and the few stories I actually looked into were filled with misinformation and blatant lies. Breitbart claims to have some 45 million readers, though Bloomberg puts the number at a more modest 19 million. I am amazed, and yet probably shouldn’t be, that so many people have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by this faux news outlet.
My visit to Breitbart sickened me, but alas, I did not find a single advertisement! I was hoping to try the suggestion of Sleeping Giants, but after perusing three or four stories, I still had not stumbled upon a single ad. I find this perplexing and am not sure quite what to make of it, but will have to investigate further another time, as my time is limited at the moment by a real need for sleep.
My main point, however, in case you have forgotten it in the midst of all my late-night rambling, is that I applaud the position taken by Kellogg and other companies who refuse to support an organization that promotes misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, and every other form of bigotry. I do hope that more and more companies will put distance between themselves and Breitbart and that Breitbart ceases to exist within a short time. Now, let’s all get out there and buy some Corn Flakes tomorrow! Thank you, Kellogg!