Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
Chick-fil-A’s stance as religious-centered organization is well known. Discovered by people right after they wonder why the chicken chain is closed on Sundays. PR-wise, Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy’s “guilty as charged” open admission of Chick-fil-A’s stance on homosexuality simply created a bright spotlight that reminded a lot of people. What I think they didn’t foresee is that it sharpened their Christian brand into “anti-gay.” And like Planned Parenthood, that’s when America starts taking sides.
I don’t agree with their stand. But as long as they admit gay people in their stores and don’t discriminate, we can respectfully disagree with their right to hold their particular beliefs. Chick-fil-A’s boss said something he has every right to say. Guaranteed by the First Amendment.
But people who love the freedom of using the First Amendment, also forget freedoms aren’t risk-free to use.
Yes, you are protected from government for what you say, but you don’t have an inherent right to be free from positive or negative public reaction for your statements. Chick-fil-A is finding that your personal view and public opinion or brand perception can go in two different directions.
Some businesses do know this. That’s why many are getting behind Super Pacs defined as Nonprofit 501(c)4 Social Welfare Organizations that aren’t compelled to disclosure their donors.
Such companies, or wealthy people with brands or sensitive business interests want to have it both ways. Make statements and be involved in the political process, but not be identified in order shield their business interests or own image from public assessment and reaction. Great deal for them. Grossly unfair to the public.
For instance. There’s a big difference between “SOMEONE says your wife is a slut” and “THE KOCH BROTHERS say your wife is a slut. One is a statement that can damaging, but can’t be evaluated, confronted or refuted because the credibility of the person exercising Freedom of Speech can’t be evaluated. A bit like a sniper that you can’t see who’s shooting you. So the only thing you can do is take cover. Also like trolls in online discussion board, political discussion tends to de-evolve. Unaccountable for what you say, it’s too easy for engagement to becomes verbal bomb throwing.
When a name is attached. The person can still exercise their political right to say anything they want, but will also weigh the gravity of their message. Self-regulating knowledge because you know it will be evaluated-and you will be evaluated. Words measured against your credibility, brand or character. And like a bullet used with a gun, you may be asked to defend your action and words when used against another person.
And we wouldn’t want that, would we?
That’s why Congress, who at first, claimed to support donor disclosure to temper Citizens United ruling, got very cool to the idea once they saw the obscene money rolling in from well-heeled donors. If donors are forced to reveal themselves in real time, that makes giving to political causes unattractive and risky to their brand and business interests. I say if soldiers can take a bullet for our freedom, those using their First Amendment rights should be able to take some criticism like Chick-fil-A has. Well, most of the time.
What I mean is, Chick-fil-A, who after being pummeled in the press for their anti-gay stance, allegedly tried a little of anonymous free speech themselves. By posing at a teenager, Abby Farle,” on their own Facebook page.
“Abby” tried to argue that the withdrawal of the Jim Henson Company from a Chick-fil-A promotion was due to defective toys and not the Muppet company’s stated objective to the company anti gay stance was caught when a user found her profile was created eight hours before and using a stock photo for her identity found on Shutterstock.com.
If it’s confirmed this fake message was sponsored by Chick-fil-A, its dishonest actions and message are accountable to someone. And that’s how it and Super Pac donations should be.