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Hullabaloo


Friday, February 24, 2017

 

The ears have it

by Tom Sullivan


@spockosbrain "Brain in a box. Half Human, Half Vulcan. Just want a piece of the Action."

In addition to having elected a morally, emotionally and intellectually stunted 70 year-old as their leader, the Wrongs of the Midas cult have made a fetish of freedom, the flag, capitalism, and the supposed free market.

These idols are all unvarnished goods so long as the Wrongs think they hold a controlling interest in them and can use them as tools for arrogating power and wealth for themselves. But every now and again somebody finds a way to leverage those tools against them.

Since late last year, the activist group Sleeping Giants has invited web surfers to report to advertisers when their fine products, services, and brand names appear beside the kind of retromingent views spewed at Breitbart that prompted one of the largest digital advertising services, AppNexus Inc., to ban the site for violating its policy on hate speech. AppNexus spokesman Joshua Zeitz told Bloomberg Technology, "We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language" that might incite violence.

Fortune reported days ago:

According to a leaked memo obtained by BuzzFeed, an Australian agency owned by the global advertising giant Omnicom -- which handles advertising and marketing campaigns for all of the major Fortune 500 brands including McDonalds and Apple -- has advised its staff that many of the firm's clients are asking that their ads not appear on Breitbart.
The Washington Post reports this morning that the former employer of Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos is seeing its ad revenues nose dive:
At Breitbart, the pullback in advertising has taken a toll on the site, staffers told Fox Business this week. More than 1,250 companies, including Audi, Harris Teeter, Greenpeace and Lyft, have recently pulled advertising from the controversial site, according to Sleeping Giants, an activist group that is tracking online data. A spokesman for Breitbart declined to comment for this report.

“People at the news outlet say that an effort is underway to make Breitbart more mainstream, by hiring reporters to cover news and devote less space to political commentary that has been its forte,” Fox Business reported. “People inside Breitbart say while the website may in fact be profitable, it is also suffering from a business standpoint with advertising dollars shrinking significantly.”
The Denver Post describes Breitbart News as Bannon's "media sledgehammer, an enforcer of orthodoxy that its fans praised for its swagger and that its critics labeled xenophobic or worse."
The site’s editorial thrust reflects Bannon’s nationalist, immigration-restrictionist beliefs and trumpets Breitbart’s continuing grievance and outrage against those who trespass against its worldview. The homepage focuses on a handful of thematic categories: praise for President Trump; attacks on his critics and on the news media’s coverage of Trump; praise for like-minded nationalist politicians such as the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders and France’s Marine Le Pen; stories critical of left-leaning political figures such as Michael Moore, Lena Dunham and George Soros; and random reports about immigrants and refugees causing trouble in their adopted lands, especially Europe and the United States.
They are free to do so even if Trump issues a proclamation rescinding the First Amendment. But All-American, capitalist advertisers are equally free not to soil their brands by association with this bile.

But it's important to give a tip of the fedora to our friend Spocko. He gets too little credit (and none of the "action") for having pioneered the techniques Sleeping Giants, Flush Rush and other activists adapted from his successful takedown of wrong-wing talkers on KSFO radio. As Spocko found a decade ago, most advertisers do not even know where their radio ads are appearing, and much less so in the age of Internet marketing. Rather than attempt to organize activists to boycott advertisers — cumbersome, innefficient, difficult to monitor, and indirect, since hate speech, not the advertisers is the real target — Spocko cut out the middleman and appealed to advertisers' bottom lines directly. He didn't need a massive rally or massive funding to do it. Just one guy.

Need a little inspiration for fighting back in the age of America's "deconstruction"? There you go.