COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., December 7, 2016 – Kellogg’s, America’s favorite breakfast cereal company since 1898, now has announced a new product line: “Thought Policing.”
The company, whose “Tony the Tiger” has greeted generations of Americans each morning at breakfast, suddenly decided to influence not just our breakfasts, but our thoughts as well. Kellogg’s publicly announced it will remove its product ads from the Breitbart news sites collectively known as Breitbart.com.
The Breitbart site has come under fire on social media in recent days as left-leaning consumers, angered at what they say is its racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content, publicly name and shame its advertisers. Nervous about the negative publicity, Kellogg’s has taken what seems to them the safe route by withdrawing from the controversy altogether.
“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company. We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site.”
But Breitbart says Kellogg is wrong to dismiss its loyal and extensive readership, which the site claims totals 45 million unique visitors in the last month, stating:
“Breitbart News Network has built an engaged community of over 45 million loyal readers who are also a powerful consumer group that reflects the values of main street America. Kellogg’s decision to blacklist one of the largest conservative media outlets in America is economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse. That is as un-American as it gets.”
Breitbart CEO Larry Solov similarly told The Hollywood Reporter that Kellogg was “buying into a false, left-wing narrative that our 45 million readers are ‘deplorables.’” In a statement to Bloomberg News, Solov said Breitbart “has always and continues to condemn racism and bigotry in any form.” The Breitbart site has also launched a counterattack against Kellogg’s with a boycott drive targeting the company’s products.
For its part, Kellogg’s website boasts of the company’s long and stellar history as a premier American company:
“Our Best Days Are Yours: From one great day over 100 years ago all the way to today, Kellogg’s has continued to fuel better days for American families. From going to the moon to feeding the U.S. Army to making your days great, some of our best days have been in your home country, the United States.”
In 1898, in an early attempt to make granola, the company’s founder, W.K. Kellogg and his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg instead accidentally how to “flake” wheat berries. W.K. continued his experiments until he learned how to flake corn, creating the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes we have come to know and love. In 1906, W.K. Kellogg opened the “Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company” and hired his first 44 employees to create the initial commercial batch of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Over the years, the company evolved into the food manufacturing and marketing giant we know today.
Kellogg is just the latest major brand to pull its online advertising from the news site. Other companies—including Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker and SoFi–have also vowed to exit the Breitbart site.
Given the recent presidential election results, however, such very public decisions that cater to a politically correct crowd that’s soon to be out of power, may prove counter-productive.
It is clear that middle America—the middle class and those who have sat in silence as transgender bathrooms have been declared and as foreign felons are granted repeated entry into our country—have finally spoken up on these issues and more through the ballot box. Perhaps with this unlikely election, political correctness and the concurrent practice of masking malice with allegedly “nice speech” are both on their way out.
There is no doubt that with the unexpected advance of the outspoken Donald Trump to the nation’s highest office, a vast shift in governance, if not in the fabric of American culture, may be taking place before our eyes.
The question is if or when Kellogg’s may choose to rejoin the majority of America that clearly seems to be jumping ship from the formerly ascendant PC culture. This corporate food giant may wish to rethink at some point its alignment with the PC coalition: a coastal Democrat Party that’s no longer a national party, university professors who are finally coming under attack for their pronounced leftist/socialist tilt, and the so-called mainstream media, which was recently tarnished when their blatant collusion with the Clinton campaign was finally revealed through the Wikileaks information avalanche.
Even American comedians have slowly begun to distance themselves from the political correctness of the past decade. In a June 2015 Salon article about political correctness, Anna Silman reported that conservatives and comedians don’t tend to agree on a lot. But a shared rallying cry for both has been the issue of political correctness.
Ten famous comedians have joined the drumbeat against the professionally aggrieved. Silman wrote how political correctness is killing comedy, declaring “We are addicted to the rush of being offended.”
Silman opined, “Lately, more and more comedians have been speaking out against political correctness, arguing that audiences’ increased sensitivities and tendencies to take offense stifles comedic freedom.” In one comedian’s rush to be funny, Silman reported, he broke the golden rule in modern American public life, which is to never say anything (or, God forbid, to joke about anything) that may be deemed even remotely offensive or upsetting by any segment of the population for any reason.
She also quoted Jerry Seinfeld, who noted that political correctness is hurting comedy while criticizing today’s college students for being too sensitive, stating “ . . . there’s a creepy PC thing out there that really bothers me.”
According to Silman, other comedians troubled by the PC movement include:
Chris Rock, who said he stopped playing colleges because they are too conservative, “Not in their political views – not like they’re voting Republican – but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody.”
John Cleese, the former Monty Python star, who in an interview with Bill Maher dismissed political correctness as “condescending,” stating “It starts as a half way decent idea and then it goes completely wrong and is taken ad absurdum.”
Canadian comic Russell Peters, who noted “If you look at TV in the ‘70s versus TV now, and you see things people said back in the day – they said the most off-colour stuff and nobody’s feelings were hurt. . . it’s about intent. The intent then was to make people laugh. And the intent is still to make you laugh, but they’ve drilled it into your head that you’re not supposed to laugh at this.”
Larry the Cable Guy said “It’s gotten way outta control . . . people really need to take the thumb outta their mouth and grow up a little bit and realize there’s a lot bigger problems out there than what a comedian did a joke about.”
Dennis Miller, a frequent guest on Fox News’ hit prime-time show The O’Reilly Factor, said in his book of rants, that “trying to negotiate straits of what’s acceptably funny nowadays is like trying to navigate through the Sargasso Sea of plastic toadstools in the middle of a bumper pool table.”
So, what are we to make now of Kellogg’s retreat to the padded cell where Political Correctness dwells?
Whither goest the outspoken bravery of Tony the Tiger who famously sang to us, “So show ‘em you’re a tiger / Show ‘em what you can do / The taste of Tony’s Frosted Flakes / Brings out the tiger in you! And you!”
It is abundantly clear that the Trump Effect has continued to shock the easily offended and the professional whiners in this country. Perhaps their time in the limelight is coming to an end. The average American citizen just may be wise enough to discern the true intent of individual and corporate PC antics when it comes to politics, comedy, and yes, even breakfast cereal.