Activists – shmactivists

Three cheers for the British bull, still alive and going strong. So strong not even groups of perfectly totalitarian morons can scare him. Or her, to be politically correct. Or them?

That is: this is the hope, despite the so many signs coming out of the previously proud Albion that would seem to indicate that even the sturdy Brits have succumbed to today’s politically correct (and expedient) idiocy.

Anyhow, here’s an example that everybody else in today’s media (and elsewhere) should follow: a British supermarket buys advertising space in a British publication that some call conservative. A few so-called “socially progressive” individuals take issue, using (how frightfully imaginative!) social media to do so. The supermarket decides to pull the ad, but is beaten to the punch by the magazine itself: its editor bans the supermarket from its pages. And to drive the point home, the ban will hold for ever.

No, this is not a new Hollywood flick. Hollywood is not so funny. Hollywood is not that realistic, either. And this is a real story.

Who are those guys?

Stop Funding Hate is the name of the group that had caused the entire hoopla. Without any sense of their own inconsistency, the anti-haters announced they called the magazine “toxic and inflammatory.”

Now, this Co-op shop is fifth on Great Britain’s scale of market share. A miniscule group using social media to criticize it should not worry it one bit.

And, in the beginning, true, nothing happened.

Until one (yes, one) transgender woman accused the supermarket of transphobia (whatever THAT is supposed to mean). Co-op’s advertisement has helped fund The Spectator and that, she wrote, was unacceptable. The Spectator, she added, prints “overwhelmingly hostile” articles about transgender people.

Instead of asking for proof, Co-op replied: “We are taking up the issue with them (with whom, pray? Logic would suggest it’s the Co-op’s advertising agency they have in mind here.) with a view to them not using this publication again in the future.”

And now the story took a typically British humorous turn. Spectator editor Andrew Neil went straight to the point when he heard that Co-op was considering withdrawal from his magazine’s pages. “No need to bother,” Andrew Neil wrote with typical understatement, adding, almost as a casual afterthought: “As of today you are henceforth banned from advertising in The Spectator, in perpetuity. We will not have companies like yours use their financial might to try to influence our editorial content, which is entirely a matter for the editor.”

What Neil said was simple: censorship is not cricket. Not sporting. Not really playing the game.

Of course, boycotting businesses (and publications) some people beg to disagree with is nothing new. Come to think of it, why would any Jewish person buy a Ford automobile, given its founder’s pronounced anti-Semitic statements and actions? After all, has anyone at Ford ever apologized for their founder’s criminal behaviour? Not that it would help, but in today’s prevailing culture where some people demand that other people apologize for events and views that had happened (or had been expressed) centuries ago, this would not be unusual.

Still, as a topic, it is somewhat contradictory, especially when it comes to boycotting newspapers and magazines: and what about freedom of expression?

On the other hand, so long as the boycott does not lead to spilling anybody’s blood, fine, let them shop elsewhere or read other publications.

Of course, the picture differs somewhat when it’s the journalists themselves who jump on a boycott bandwagon. CNN did it recently, and it is still not ashamed for their activism that violates basic rules of journalism. CNN named companies that would not stop paying Facebook for advertisements. CNN openly asked its viewers to express themselves by boycotting those companies. The social media giant apparently ignored what some activists called hate speech, and that was bad enough, so far as CNN was concerned.

The fact that CNN (and many other mainstream media outlets) are locked in a life-and-death battle with Facebook (and other social media outlets) about collecting and disseminating news (and paying for it) somehow fell through the cracks in CNN’s call for action.

Some would call this kind of silence hypocrisy. CNN remains mum on the topic.

Who censors whom?

Besides, everything is relative: conservative views suffer in the hands of Facebook’s so-called fact-checkers, and a bit of a more thorough search establishes that those fact-checkers are far from being independent and neutral in their views.

But, on the other hand, several Fox News personalities have been through similar boycott campaigns, and they’re fine and dandy even today, thank you very much.

In any case, Britain’s Co-op is hoping online lefties weren’t lying when they said they would be buying their healthy and politically correct food from Co-op in solidarity (they call such products ethically sourced, whatever THAT means).

The Spectator’s readers, on the other hand, opened their wallets in order to increase the numbers of paid subscriptions, thus allowing the magazine to charge higher rates to advertisers who don’t care about its editorial direction.

Seems everyone’s going home happy. Should they be?

2 thoughts on “Activists – shmactivists

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