CBS Discovers ‘Brand Politics,’ Frets ‘Woke’ Businesses Being ‘Caught‘ in ‘Culture Wars’

News & Politics

Thursday’s CBS Mornings took a look at corporate liberalism that, while it offered more than a few soundbites from conservatives voices denouncing the left demanding full compliance with its politics, nonetheless spun the rise in what it dubbed “brand politics” as corporations “caught up in the culture wars” not because of the left’s demands, but those meddling conservatives unable to leave well enough alone.

And, sure enough, such behavior was trumpeted as “though provoking” and merely aimed at a “conversation” about whether businesses should take stances on social issues when, in actuality, it’s about forcing consumers to universally adopt and endorse progressive causes.

Socialist co-host Tony Dokoupil had the story plus four. In the first, he promised “a look at what we are calling brand politics” in light of “companies…taking a stand on all kinds of social issues” and while “[s]ome people love it,” “others” see it as “an example of what they say is a woke agenda in corporate America.”

In the second tease, he at least conceded “Americans are divided on the issue.” The third had Dokoupil promising a look at “the allegation” of “work corporations” with the fourth stating “businesses” are “tak[ing] a stand on social issues.” Notice how none of that (aside from the single “woke” nod), Dokoupil didn’t mention how the concern is uniformly about leftist influence.

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Dokoupil began his piece by framing this as conservatives being skunks at the garden party: 

But we are going to begin this hour with a look at why so many major American brands seem to be caught up in the culture wars. We’re talking about Target, Bud Light, Disney. They’re all facing a conservative backlash right now for their support of the LGBTQ+ community and it’s a major shift going on right here in corporate America, a shift in tone and one that many Republicans complain is almost entirely to the left. 

The first part consisted of man-on-the-street interviews in Garden City, NY with passersby from all sides, interspersed with Dokoupil noting: “As more big brands sell not only their products, but their values, people notice.”

After an aside suggesting corporations taking sides was a positive given how many didn’t during the Civil Rights Movement, he went to a liberal white woman pretending to be branding guru Donny Deutsch (click “expand”):

FINN PARTNER’s AMY TERPELUK: The mission of a company is to give back to society and the business —

DOKOUPIL: Amy Terpeluk helps craft these strategies for the marketing firm, Finn Partners.

TERPELUK: — and companies are focusing on longer term, purpose-driven commitments and actions that relate back to their core business and their core values.

DOKOUPIL: She says it’s partly the push of investors, partly the sway of employees, and largely the expectation of customers themselves.

TERPELUK: We’re facing these incredible social and environmental issues. We need to solve and we need to solve fast, and they looked to companies as having the resources, the speed, and the social innovations to be able to do that.

DOKOUPIL: Surveys have suggested 70 percent of Americans now believe brands should take a stand on social issues, with nearly two-thirds saying they’ll buy products based on their beliefs and values. 

A segment on wokeism wouldn’t be complete without a DeSantis mention: “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is locked in a political battle with Disney, for example, after the company publicly opposed a bill he later signed it into law.”

Dokoupil also brought up Bud Light as having “faced a backlash and watched its sales plummet all for sending a promotional can to a prominent transgender social media star.”

To his credit, he had four soundbites from Consumer Research’s Will Hild and portions of ads from Black Rifle Coffee and both Jeremy’s Razors and Jeremy’s Chocolate (click “expand”):

CONSUMER RESEARCH’s WILL HILD: This is absolutely dangerous to businesses that wade into these issues and they really do it at their own peril.

DOKOUPIL: Will Hild is executive director of Consumers Research, a nonprofit that’s been issuing woke alerts about companies taking progressive stances.

HILD: Our message is simply this: Serve your consumers, not woke politicians and activists.

[UGG AD]

DOKOUPIL: He sees these campaigns as quite obviously a shift to the left and doesn’t buy the idea that customers really want this kind of marketing.

[AIRBNB AD]

[P&G AD]

HILD: It’s a radical proposition, but I think they should just focus on selling high quality goods and services at a reasonable price.

DOKOUPIL [TO HILD]: So you think corporate America writ large is running the risk of alienating half of their potential customers?

HILD: Yeah. There’s no question about it.

DOKOUPIL: One result is a recent boom in right-leaning companies.

EVAN HAFER [in BLACK RIFLE COFFEE ADVERTISEMENT]: We have the mission to provide coffee and culture to people of America.

TONY DOKOUPIL: Black Rifle Coffee Company, for example, is a conservative alternative to Starbucks.

JEREMY BOERING [in Jeremy’s Razors ad]: They condemned our views.

DOKOUPIL: And The Daily Wire, a right-leaning media company is dreaming even bigger —

BOERING [in Jeremy’s Razors ad]: Behold, Jeremy’s Razors.

DOKOUPIL: — with a line of anti-woke shaving gear, chocolate bars, and eventually. they say, children’s programming.

BOERING [in ad]: Stop giving our money to woke corporations that don’t think you deserve their product.

He ended with The Body Shop, a business that’s fully embraced progressivism. Again to his credit, Dokoupil asked Nykeba King, one of their executives, if they’ve realized that “[t]here are also customers out there who might want” their products, “but they pause because their politics — their positions are not yours.”

Back in studio, co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King gushed over King (no relation) and insisted she loves this rise in corporate liberalism so she knows to only support businesses that align with her politics: “I don’t want to give money to people or companies that I don’t think are trying to do good, be good, and make the world a better place. I — I don’t, so I’m definitely influenced by it.”

Co-host and former NFL player Nate Burleson agreed, calling them “thought provoking” because that “creates a conversation, which is what we should be having, regardless of what side of the spectrum you sit on.”

Sorry, Nate, it’s anything but a dialogue. Instead, it’s a bludgeoning into submission and, to paraphrase Erick Erickson, being made to care.

CBS’s segment cheering woke corporations was made possible thanks to, yes, advertisers such as Swiffer and Volkswagen. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant June 1 transcript, click here.

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