As advertisers flee from Tucker Carlson Tonight, there is a growing concern that the cowering of corporate America to rage mobs will end up having a deeply chilling effect on political discourse.
Corporate America must stop backing down to these bullies before boycotts become a way to guarantee that only views and opinions confined to a moderate middle ground will be viable for cable news. The robust debates we expect from networks that lean both to the right and the left will inevitable end up stifled if this madness continues.
Carlson is currently under fire for refusing to back down from comments he made in which he said that illegal immigration makes America “poorer and dirtier.” This lead to a major boycott campaign against the show in which angry leftists pressured advertisers to drop him. It worked, even IHOP has now cancelled their commercials.
While some may argue that boycotts are an effective means of protest, Politico media writer Jack Shafer made an interesting point. He wrote, “Seriously, I barely trust IHOP to make my breakfast. Why would I expect it to vet my cable news content for me?”
The other, infinitely scarier, motive at play is that these boycotts are being pushed by CNN and liberal organizations to silence their competition and political rivals.
The boycott campaigns are launched and driven by leftist groups like Move On, Sleeping Giants, and Media Matters — then the activist-reporters at CNN will begin calling companies asking why they are not siding with the boycott bullies.
This move deliberately adds pressure by implying that if they do not cave, the network will cover their refusal and make them seem as if they are endorsing whatever view the mob is railing against.
“Calling for comment” is being very clearly abused by these massive networks to take down their competition.
Corporate America’s goal has always been, and should be, to have their commercials seen by as many people as possible. They should not be in the business of determining what viewers are allowed to see, which will be the ultimate result of their inability to advertise on content that any vocal minority objects to. This is an extremely slippery slope that we are barreling down at full speed.
The concept that an advertiser is endorsing a show simply for running commercials is insane, and should be viewed as such. Thankfully, there have been more and more companies who understand this and are refusing to back down — such as Mitsubishi, Farmer’s Insurance and Bayer.
I have seen this play out with many clients. For example, Hotelplanner.com refused to stop working with the NRA and continues to provide discounted rates for members — despite extreme pressure from the left for them to stop.
HotelPlanner.com’s CEO Tim Hentschel was bombarded with a coordinated and targeted attack of calls from reporters from multiple outlets demanding to know why he was not backing away from their relationship with the NRA. I advised him to stand firm and that it would all blow over. It eventually did.
Hentschel went on to explain on Fox Business that his decision “is not about politics at all” but rather “about classic hospitality and not getting involved in a boycott war.” This is the right take that all companies should be standing firm on.
Adam Weiss is the CEO of AMW PR, a New York political strategy and communications firm. His firm has represented Kimberly Guilfoyle, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, Anthony Scaramucci and more.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.