Why Are Corporate CEOs Afraid Of The Parkland Teenagers? It's The Boycott, Stupid
In a land far away and time long ago, the NHL merged with the World Hockey Association, ending a protracted and costly struggle for supremacy. As part of the 1980 deal, the NHL would accept a certain number of the WHA teams.
But the Montreal Canadiens, owned the Molson brewing interests, at first balked at letting in the Quebec Nordiques, affiliated with rival O’Keefe Breweries. Bad for business, why help your competitor etc. But miffed Nordiques fans threatened to boycott Molson beer if their team was shut out.
Quicker than you can say “fermented hops” the Canadiens withdrew their objections. The Nordiques entered the NHL (for a while at least).
Yes, cause-related product boycotts can put the fear of god into marketers. Which is what makes the latest salvo in the American culture wars so dangerous. In the wake of the Parkland high-school shooting, progressives have revved up their outrage machines and directed the noise at large American corporations to promote their message.
In this case it’s the Guns Are Bad meme that is being stoked by precocious Parkland students to mesmerized liberal talk-news network hosts.
Forget that the Parkland shooting could have been prevented or severely mitigated by 1) The FBI not dismissing tips about the shooter 2) Broward County police likewise ignoring a tidal wave of tips about the shooter’s promises to shoot up the school 3) Parkland administrators who somehow failed to make sure their psychological assessment of the shooter be recorded on his record before purchasing a gun and 4) the general cowardice of the Broward police and its pusillanimous chief Scott Israel in particular.
The media message instead was that the shooting was caused by the National Rifle Association and its five million members. CNN staged a town-hall lynching of the NRA in which the craven Broward police chief and the students fingered the NRA for culpability. To a public incurious or plain ignorant of guns that was enough.
The next part of the shaming was directed at politicians, corporations, media outlets and individuals who might do business with the NRA. This was a replay of the same-sex bathroom hysteria of 2016, where corporations and certain states were shamed for not promoting access by transitioning people to the toilet of their choice. The NBA and a few virtue-signalling outlets took sports events away from North Carolina for not bending a knee to the Trans lobby.
So far in the early days of The Shaming, Part Deux, a number of major corporations can’t run away fast enough from any association with the NRA. Enterprise car rental, Delta Air Lines, MetLife insurance, Symantec security software and others ended programs with the NRA. Dick’s Sporting Goods— which allegedly sold guns to the shooter— said they were getting out of the gun-sale biz.
The usual Hollywood hysterics are also demanding Apple, Google, Roku and Amazon immediately remove NRATV from their video-streaming services. How many will hold the line is still an open question as CEOs measure the loss in business from the Left if they don’t buy into an agenda about the NRA being the root of all evil.
The problem here for corporations is that the NRA is no patsy. It is one of the best-organized, most motivated interest groups out there. The group, which boasts about five million members, operates a grassroots operation that knows how to move the vote and influence purchasing power. While the NRA’s donation levels didn’t even make the top 50 political donors in the 2016 election cycle, they spent their money very effectively in getting Donald Trump elected.
And they’re not about to cower before a rabble of teenagers and squishy liberal TV hosts. They will pull strings and push their agenda. Already, lawmakers in Georgia have cut a $50-million tax break to Delta for politicizing the Parkland shooting (ie., blaming the NRA). Online movements and social-media campaigns are already underway to hobble their critics’ bottom line.
Snubbing the NRA’s buying power to satisfy 15 minutes of media pandering to high schoolers would seem to be a very bad bet. We will see just how savvy a move this was when the 74 million spurned gun owners in the U.S. vote with their feet by heading to the competition that stayed the course.
You wonder at the wisdom of telling 25 percent of the nation you don’t want them buying your product. But that’s what happens when Barack Obama decides teenagers are avatars of the future. (Umm, ever hear of the Red Guard in Mao’s Cutural Revolution, Barry? How about the Hitler Youth? Th Iranian students in 1979?)
For certain, this is not the last pressure point the progressives will use in hopes of re-making the “patriarchy” and “white privilege” into a dream culture. Wait till Trump nominates another conservative Supreme Court judge a Democratic Congress tries to impeach him. As the Obamists liked to say, “No good crisis should go to waste” in promoting their dream of social utopia in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
But such is the social-media stigma on defying the latest progressive icon that the corporate elites have no stomach for standing up for long-held beliefs. It’s the sort of self preservation Churchill had in mind about appeasers: “They feed the crocodile in hopes of being the last one eaten by the croc.”
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)