If anyone picked the famous coffee maker Keurig to serve as the focus of America’s next culture war battle, come collect your prize.
Keurig’s Twitter account announced over the weekend it would no longer advertise during Sean Hannity’s Fox News show after the left-wing Media Matters for America pressured the company to drop the conservative host.
Media Matters has been trying to get advertisers to drop Hannity for most of the year, and now they’re using the host’s support for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore — who currently stands accused of sexual misconduct — as the reason for doing so.
The reaction to that news spawned the #BoycottKeurig hashtag and multiple videos of former Keurig customers destroying the company’s wares.
At the same time conservatives react with fury over the Keurig’s decision, liberals have come to embrace the company’s “brave” decision to not seek out the patronage of Fox News viewers.
But Keurig eventually decided to show how little interest they had in being the center of a culture war fight by issuing an apology for “taking sides” on Monday. It was meant for its employees, but it was leaked to the public and Sean Hannity himself accepted it from the corporation.
Following the apology, Hannity urged his fans to stop wrecking their Keurig machines.
Figuring out which coffee to buy due to politics is truly a sign of our times. Everything is politicized, especially corporate marketing.
The larger issue over this fight is not the politicization over coffee purchases. The bigger issue is how the withdrawal of advertising shows how corporations are increasingly taking the side against the Right.
For the entirety of the year, Breitbart’s advertisers have been targeted by left-wing activists in attempts to deprive the right-wing publication of revenue.
So far, it has been a successful operation in its stated goal. According to a Washington Post report published in June, the site lost 90 percent of its advertisers in just two months due to left-wing pressure.
The group behind the pressure campaign, Sleeping Giants, claimed in August that Breitbart had lost nearly 2,600 advertisers in total since it began harassing those companies shortly after the 2016 election.
While this has had a significant financial effect on Breitbart, it hasn’t dimmed the Trumpian publication’s pugilism or appeared to jeopardize its existence.
However, similar campaigns launched against Fox News have worked. Bill O’Reilly was forced out of the network in large part due to advertisers dropping his program over sexual harassment claims.
Glenn Beck’s popular program on Fox also suffered a similar loss in advertisers due to left-wing pressure, which resulted in his departure from the network in 2011. Unlike O’Reilly, who lost advertisers due to his own alleged abhorrent behavior, Beck lost ad revenue because of his “extremist” views.
These supposedly intolerable views are why Hannity is frequently targeted for ad dropping by left-wing activists. In May, he was scrutinized for going too far into Seth Rich conspiracy theories, and thus he lost advertisers.
Now he’s losing ad revenue over vocally supporting Roy Moore.
HANNITY ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO MOORE AFTER ADVERTISERS BEGINS DROPPING HIS SHOW
It’s not just Keurig that’s pulling its support of Hannity’s program. Volvo and Hebrew National have both communicated on Twitter that they will no longer run advertising over the Fox host’s support for the Republican Senate candidate.
Many Americans disagree with Hannity, while many others agree with him. There’s a reason why Keurig and other corporations don’t want to “take sides” in these fights because they risk losing customers over such a contentious issue.
But an increasing number of corporations are willing to tell millions of conservatives to take their business elsewhere. Breitbart’s incessant attacks on Kellogg’s didn’t convince that company to change their decision to not advertise with the conservative outlet anymore.
“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,” Kellogg’s spokesman Kris Charles explained why the company pulled its ads. “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 ads from that site.”
You never see companies blabber about their values and pull ads from left-wing media. The ineffectual counter-boycott against Rachel Maddow earlier this year proved corporations have no problem with supporting progressives.
In fact, corporations have deliberately cultivated progressive images. Sending out tweets mocking Trump, openly embracing the LGBT cause, and hosting panels for Black Lives Matter are all things mega corporations do to show to customers that they’re woke. (RELATED: Corporations Now Push Woke Consumerism)
Punishing conservative voices is just part of that new branding mission. Leaving those ads up means a corporation draws the ire of activists, a big no-no for their cultivated wokeness.
Companies will still try to obscure this bias with vague language on “values” or refusing to take sides, but the message sent to customers is clear: we stand with the Left.
Conservatives may hope to start similar efforts, however, they can’t draw on the rhetoric that these left-wing activists use to make their campaigns appealing to boardrooms. Gaze at this one example of corporate speak that would never be given in response to conservative demands.
“We’re not banning them because they’re alt-right or conservative,” Joshua Zeitz, vice president of corporate communications at the ad-tech company AppNexus, told The New York Times in January on why his company was dumping Breitbart. “We banned them from our marketplace because they violate our hate speech policy, which prohibits ad serving on sites that incite violence and discrimination against minority groups.”
To the determiners of corporate policy, conservatives preach hate while the Left — including Antifa and race agitators — only advocate love. Plus, corporations think young consumers will reward them by currying favor with the Left, and the bottom line is what matters most for these hip capitalists.
What’s happening to Breitbart and Hannity is only the beginning of what the Left will do to its enemies in the years to come. The Left knows money talks, and corporations are more than willing to make sure the Right hears the message loud and clear.