The magazine Consumer Reports has done good service for a long time, and I’ve been willing to support them by subscribing to their print edition and also their on-line service. Like most organizations in the field of consumer activism, they have a somewhat left-wing image, and occasionally, they endorse or lobby for legislation I don’t agree with, but I haven’t been bothered much. Until now.
This year, they bought the blog consumerist.com, formerly owned by Gawker; it has a flock of writers spewing out several short pieces a day, some of them on legitimate consumer issues, and some on irrelevancies. Since the writers at Consumerist tend to be a snarky opinionated bunch, I figured their style might eventually become a problem, in comparison with the restrained, generally fair and factual approach of the magazine.
In recent weeks, they’ve given a lot of coverage to some gay group’s protest against Target stores after Target gave a donation to a political cause in Minnesota. The donation was ostensibly given because the cause agreed with Target’s business interests, but it benefited a conservative politician who’s against same-sex marriage. Since then, Consumerist has published several pieces about protests:
- July 28: “Target Angering Gay Customers…”
- August 5: “Target CEO Explains Support of Anti-Gay Politician…”
- August 8: “Target and Best Buy’s Support of Bigots Is Going To Change The Way You Shop”
(Yeah, actually it will change the way I shop: I like Target more now. Their foundation used to support Planned Parenthood, but they stopped. God bless ’em.)
I figure the first story was reasonable; the second understandable; but the third insulting.
Does Consumers Union, the parent organization of Consumerist.com, endorse that sentiment: that opposition to same-sex marriage makes you a “bigot”? I don’t want my subscription money going to pay for a blog that’s going to spread incivility like that.
So I called Consumers Union, spoke with the customer relations department, and explained my concern a week ago. I haven’t heard any response yet, so I cancelled the magazine subscription. I’ll give ’em another chance this week; I’ll call again and ask if they have taken a stand to disassociate themselves from the offensive message from the blog. And if not, I’ll cancel the on-line subscription.
Anybody else feel the same?