After pressuring Disney to pick a political fight with Florida Republicans, liberal media are now pressuring companies into loudly defending abortion under the threat of bad publicity.
CNBC ran down a list of companies that the outlet reached out to about the Supreme Court potentially overturning Roe v. Wade and giving states more freedom to restrict abortion. Melissa Repko and Lauren Feiner, with the help of five contributors, tacitly shamed corporations across the country for remaining silent about abortion, “even as” the court confirmed the authenticity of the leaked draft opinion.
Repko and Feiner don’t even bother to disguise the purpose of the piece: “By staying quiet, companies may be courting a harsh response from customers and employees.” It’s an obvious threat and is designed to put more public pressure on companies to toe the liberal line on abortion. CNBC apparently used seven staff members to demand corporations, from Disney to Walmart to American Airlines, answer where they stand on killing unborn children.
Disney has seen this before. The company was dragged into a fight with Florida Republicans, and Gov. Ron DeSantis in particular, by activists and their media allies. Disney CEO Bob Chapek didn’t want to weigh in on the bill, but ultimately, he let the media force the House of Mouse into taking up the Democratic Party’s talking points, the aftermath of which Disney is still unhappily navigating.
According to Judd Legum, formerly of ThinkProgress, the public relations firm Zeno is advising corporate clients not to weigh in on the issue. This is, of course, a travesty to Legum, who shames the company for allegedly defying its stated mission. But Zeno is right that this is a divisive issue in a country where 47% of people describe themselves as pro-life.
Unfortunately, Zeno failed to follow its own advice. The public relations firm issued a statement defending the advice it has given but says that it proudly supports abortion. Zeno failed the very test it was trying to protect its clients from. Hopefully, those clients each have enough of a spine that they won’t fold in the face of an unfavorable Substack newsletter.
This isn’t the first time establishment media outlets have tried to pressure corporations into doing their political bidding, and it won’t be the last. Each time a corporation folds and trots out a statement condemning half the country for its political beliefs, it only emboldens the next media shakedown. Corporations and businesses would do best to focus on selling their products and services. These media PR threats only have as much power as they allow the threats to have.