Bud Light has provided a warning case for our culture.
If you pay attention to non-leftwing media and/or haven’t blocked or muted anybody who isn’t progressive on social media, you’re likely to have heard that Anheuser-Busch has taken a huge financial hit after a young marketing executive aligned the company fully with radical gender ideologues by partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, a man whose presentation as a woman comes off as mockery.
As a cultural flashpoint, the controversy has a multitude of angles to unpack, but Not the Bee points to a key one with much broader implications:
Boycotts of woke products have not largely worked because the media stonewalls coverage of both the controversy and the backlash, keeping the majority of the population in the dark.
A small boycott of conservative companies (or states, for that matter) can have outsized effects because the media Borg floods the news cycle to make it seem like the most important news of the day. Corporate executives react accordingly. Boycotts or protests that go in the opposite ideological direction must be overwhelming to crack that forcefield, and even then, mainstream journalists typically spin the news to make it as favorable to progressives and Democrats as possible. (As the cliché goes, when a Republican or conservative does something objectionable, that’s the story; when a Democrat or progressive does something objectionable, the reaction of Republicans or conservatives is the story.)
For illustration, look at a handful of local media outlets from which Rhode Islanders get their news. Search the Providence Journal for “Bud Light,” and nothing comes up relevant to the story, at least on the first page of results. The same is true of the Boston Globe, even though one of the prominent venues featured in stories about the controversy is in the Boston area. A WPRI search does have one hit, but the focus is spin to make it about Kid Rock shooting Bud Light cans in response. Only WJAR, which serves a generally older audience, is keeping its readers informed about the matter.
None of the above should surprise anybody; what’s noteworthy is how conspicuous this particular story makes the cause, effect, and coverage. The same principles apply throughout our culture.
Progressives change the “marketing” (or meaningful significance) of something in the culture, and people respond. Then, progressive cultural institutions hide or muddle the effects. Without major changes in our news and information ecosystem, we will never, for instance, see any studies or stories indicating that redefining procreation out of marriage might have had harmful effects. Similarly, evidence that climate change concerns were misplaced will be written off without consideration.
A few recent posts in this space are illustrations, as well: Gun deaths spike in the last few years, and nobody in the mainstream notices that Democrat Congressman Seth Magaziner is actually spinning the analysis to seem like a generic gun problem rather than anything that actually happened in the last few years. Similarly, a look at child mortality rates misses the question of abortion and its effect on behavior.
Pick a culture-war issue, and you’ll find similar dynamics. In Rhode Island, in particular, stories that might point back to damage done by progressives and labor unions carefully avoid implicating them. Consequently, as people go about their lives, those who offer warnings are easily dismissed as extremists and lunatics, which allows the revolution to continue to roll… at least until it ends in (probably bloody) catastrophe.
Featured image by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash.
One of your best Columns, Justin. They are out of control = the Liberals, Progressives, Woke, and more. The Transgenrs, the BLM”ers, especially the BLM’ers down here where I now live!!
Yes, January 6 was an “insurrection”. The George Floyd riots were “mostly peaceful”
As jaded as I’ve been for decades, I still feel like a naive kid observing how doggedly these obvious disconnects are ignored.