opinion

COLUMN: They're Grrrr-Alt-Right



Last week, Twitter was, as usual, a hubbub of political controversy.

Surprisingly, this contention wasn’t because of President-elect Donald Trump. Instead, it featured two companies at odds with each other. It began when Kellogg’s decided to remove advertisements from Breitbart, a conservative news site, because Breitbart doesn’t align with the company’s political views.

Breitbart has been growing increasingly controversial as their editor, Steven Bannon, is set to take a high-profile position in the Trump administration and is facing accusations of appealing to the alt-right and harboring anti-Semitic views.

But this isn’t where the controversy ends. After Kellogg’s cut their advertisements, Breitbart fought back, starting #DumpKelloggs in an attempt to get people to upload pictures of Kellogg’s cereal in the toilet. Accompanying this, Breitbart started a boycott of Kellogg’s products and many conservatives are joining in.

Liberals, on the other hand, have unsurprisingly denounced this hashtag, comparing it to the stupidity of the “Hamilton” boycott, where people who weren’t going to buy “Hamilton” tickets in the first place announced they definitely wouldn’t buy them after Vice President-elect Mike Pence was addressed after a performance. Many liberals have actually taken to buying more boxes of cereal to counter the conservative movement. So, who knows, this boycott might result in higher sales for Kellogg.

So, who’s right? Well, in a reality, it’s no one.

This whole situation is absolutely ridiculous, and there’s no reason that this should be happening. Firstly, Kellogg’s shouldn’t be pulling their advertising from Breitbart. Though Breitbart has published controversial content in the past, they’ve already received backlash for those, and those are the opinions of individual radical columnists.

Further, while the left may portray Breitbart as a hate-mongering white nationalist site, a quick Google search proves it to simply be a fairly typical conservative news site.

My larger issue with Kellogg’s is their claim that the website doesn’t align with their company’s political views. What? How does a cereal company have political views? Was Toucan Sam an ardent Bernie supporter? Or is Tony the Tiger a Libertarian? This absurdity demonstrates a fundamental problem I have with corporate America. Companies have political pulpits. They’re using their money and leverage to push a certain agenda, and it’s not helped by Citizens United giving them free reign in elections.

As for Breitbart, they’re just being childish. While Kellogg’s is unjustified in cutting their ads, a news website shouldn’t be publicly attacking a cereal company. This boycott? They’re no better than their beloved Trump with his assault on SNL.

This is yet another example of companies using their power for a non-financial agenda, and while it does draw attention to Breitbart, it’s negative, further aligning them with radicals. So the next time you’re having a bowl of cereal while reading the news, remember the corporate interests behind them both.

ctdombro@umail.iu.edu 

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