Kraft Foods announced Thursday that it has joined Coca-Cola and Pepsico in withdrawing support from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group created in part to disseminate controversial conservative legislation to state legislators around the country.
Last week, GM announced that was pulling its financial backing of the Heartland Institute, which specializes in the denial of climate change and dismisses it as “junk science.” And in the past week, Arby’s, Walgreen’s (see tweet to the right) Proactive and Kohler have added their names to the list of more than 100 companies that have either pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s show or ordered that ads for their companies not appear there.
All in all, if I didn’t know better, I’d say that corporate America is becoming more reluctant to be associated with points of view that until now they have found quite acceptable.
If so, I can think of several possible reasons that might have changed:
A. Greater transparency is exposing relationships that once were easier to hide.
B. As Planned Parenthood demonstrated in its faceoff with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, liberal groups are publicizing such relationships and rallying their supporters.
C. The positions taken by ALEC, Limbaugh, Heartland and others have become more and more extreme and thus less defensible in the public sphere.
D. The market is speaking. As the public becomes disenchanted with such extremism, companies grow more fearful that association with fringe viewpoints is costing them business and reputation, and they are acting accordingly.
So what’s the right answer? Obviously it’s E., all of the above.
– Jay Bookman