Friday, December 2, 2016
Photo: Eleven, of Stranger Things, from yahoo.com/tv
If you're completely unfamiliar with the situation, first read this article by clicking here.
In a surprising move this week, Kellogg's pulled its advertising dollars from the website of Breitbart News. Many other companies have since followed suit. Breitbart is the ultra-right wing, conservative site that calls itself a "news organization." It's not. It publishes opinion, not fact, and it only publishes one type of opinion, rather than many. News organizations, of course, publish the news, which always involves facts. It also publishes all types of news, not just the type that pushes its own propaganda. The founder of Breitbart, Stephen Bannon, is essentially the man behind the strategy that won Trump the White House, and is destined to be someone of importance in Trump's machine. Think of Bannon as you will, but you can't deny that he has his own super-conservative right-wing agenda, which even Trump at times doesn't agree with.
The main idea of this post is to point out that, for whatever reason, Kellogg's pulled the plug on its advertising dollars on the website, which is more of a blog than a "news source." This is not unusual, as companies frequently pull its advertising from places that they feel don't (or won't) generate as much income, or reach a particular consumer group. Kellogg's insists that the withdrawal is not political, and I'm inclined to believe that. After all, one doesn't advertise on Breitbart to begin with unless one wants to reach white, super-conservative, right-wing readers. This was the case before Trump, and it's certainly the case now. If the withdrawal was political, the ads would never have been there in the first place. And since the site has generated more hits since election day, it makes sense that the company would've kept its ads there.
So what's the reason?
In an article you can read at this link, the point was raised that companies can reach Breitbart's type of readership more effectively via other avenues, such as any website of Glenn Beck's. But the main reason Kellogg's and other companies pulled the plug is because they may not have known that their ads were on the site to begin with. Apparently, ads that we see on the left and right of the screen online are not put there by those companies. They're placed by yet another company that gets paid to put ads on websites where they'll be seen. Since Breitbart's readership has grown, those companies put the ads of Kellogg's and other companies on that website. Some companies, like Kellogg's, and now like Vanguard, 3M and AARP, apparently didn't want to spend their ad dollars there, or they didn't want to reach the readers Breitbart's caters to, or, as Kellogg's said, because Breitbart's "didn't align with their values."
Fair enough. Happens all the time. From the linked article:
Hell, I've lost a few blog followers over the years because they may not have liked the thoughts I've espoused here. Whatever. To each his own. If I made money from this blog by putting ads on it (I've been offered many times, but I don't), that would hurt a bit because companies gauge a blog's hits and its numbers of followers when they decide what to advertise on. Blogger, in fact, may place some ads for companies that pay them to do so. If not, another company gets paid to do that, and they in turn probably give a cut to Blogger, since Blogger has an icon that I could insert into this blog which would run the ads that would generate money for me. After that, I get lost.
A Vanguard spokesperson maybe explains it better:
So the shocking thing here isn't that Kellogg's pulled its ads. The surprising thing is that Breitbart has pushed a boycott on Kellogg's for doing so. That's nuts! That's like me trolling the followers who have left the blog over the years. Won't do that. That's like a newspaper publishing an article against a company that decides not to put ads in that newspaper anymore. Wait--actually, it's not, because a newspaper actually is a news organization that publishes news and facts, and news and facts of different types, like local news, national news, world news, sports, money and finance, etc. Breitbart, which calls itself a "news organization," doesn't do that.
Instead, like Trump did, it declares war and attacks those people and businesses they feel have slighted or threatened it.
This is frightening for many reasons. As the linked article said:
Breitbart’s campaign against Kellogg’s is unusual on a number of fronts, not in the least because news organizations traditionally maintain a separation between their business operations and their editors and reporters so that journalists can operate independently from business interests... And whether the boycott will help Breitbart financially appears questionable, given that attacking a major advertiser isn’t likely to make the site more appealing to other brands.