As Twitchy noted recently, what journalists choose to cover speaks volumes. It took a social media campaign to shame cable news into covering that “local crime story” involving the alleged killing and dismemberment of several newborns, and yet media watchdog Howard Kurtz was disturbed enough about former Bush press secretary Dana Perino doing a puff piece on the opening of the Bush presidential library to ask about the journalistic ethics involved.
So when Twitchy noted the positive reaction on Twitter to Publix’ touching Mother’s Day spot, which also caught the attention of pro-life site LifeNews, it was time for the press to go to work. Sure, the Gosnell trial is just another local crime story, and the Publix spot is just a regional TV commercial. But once pro-lifers began praising the spot, it was time for Forbes writer Clare O’Connor to make a call to Publix, just in case the chain wanted to “clarify” any misunderstandings.
What, this Tim Tebow tweet? Just straight-up business reporting as usual; no agenda at work here.
The result: a piece on Forbes.com headlined, “Supermarket Publix Denies Conservative Claims That Its Mother’s Day Ad Is Pro-Life.” Writes O’Connor, “All it took was one tweet from right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin to land a southern supermarket’s seemingly anodyne mother’s day ad at the center of a social media firestorm.” Wow, a bunch of viewers calling the spot “sweet” and “precious” and “adorable” — that was a social media firestorm?
Fact check: No, Malkin didn’t write that piece at LifeNews. Lauren Enriquez, another woman living in the 21st century, did, and she commended Publix — are you sitting down? — for acknowledging “the humanity and dignity” of the unborn baby. Yeah, definitely time to call Publix and give the company a chance to put out this firestorm before it gets out of hand.
It is a curious choice for an article; unless we missed something, Forbes.com didn’t reach out to Mountain Dew to let the company clarify the ad that really caused a social media firestorm — to the point where the company not only recalled the ad but also purchased ad space to apologize. (In retrospect, a Forbes contributor did conclude that Mountain Dew could benefit from the controversy and be seen as “edgy.”)