Remember Chick-fil-A? Still making news!

Remember Chick-fil-A? Still making news! September 21, 2012

Even as we head into beautiful fall color changes, we’re still talking about Chick-fil-A apparently.

No news becomes news apparently, if you read this Associated Press report that spends most of the story rehashing what happened earlier this summer.

Chick-fil-A is once again in the public relations fryer.

The controversy flared up this week when a Chicago politician said the company was no longer giving to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, angering Christian conservatives who supported Chick-fil-A this summer when its president reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage. Civil rights groups hailed the turnabout, yet the company never confirmed it and instead released two public statements, neither of which made Chick-fil-A’s position any clearer.

The events suggest the Southern franchise may be trying to steer clear of hot-button social issues while it expands in other, less conservative regions of the country. In its statement Thursday, the Georgia-based company said its corporate giving had for many months been mischaracterized.

Or here’s the headline from the Los Angeles Times: “Chick-fil-A vows to stop donating to anti-gay groups” that tmatt went over yesterday.

Perhaps there’s a style question going on, but does Chick-fil-A consider the groups “anti-gay”? I highly doubt they would use that language. Also, “vow” is a pretty strong word. So let’s look at what CFA actually said:

A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.

The LAT story has a funny attempt by the reporter to gauge all of social media’s reactions:

On social media, reaction was split.

“Yes, Chick-Fil-A was wrong but they’ve changed their policy and I think they should be thanked for that,” wrote user DoubtcastFletch.

But Twitter user Glam_Star77 accused the company of trying “to play neutral.”

“I feel like I’ve been betrayed,” the user wrote. “No integrity or ethics!”

An editor should have deleted that whole section. Why would you use 10 second reactions from Twitter instead of talking to real people on the street? Why not go to a food court and find out whether people choose or don’t choose Chick-fil-A? The social media plug screams laziness.

Hey, here’s an idea: Call real sources on the other side of the issue. It’s like these journalists were thinking, “Oh dear God in heaven, don’t make me talk to a religious traditionalist of any kind!”

Meanwhile, Focus on the Family released a CitizenLink story correcting media reports saying CFA would be stopping its donations to groups like Focus.

Contrary to reports first made by the gay-activist group The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) on Tuesday and later picked up by mainstream media outlets, Chick-fil-A and its charitable-giving arm, the WinShape Foundation, did not agree to stop making donations to groups that support the biblical definition of marriage in exchange for being allowed to open a franchise in Chicago.

…Moreover, many news agencies reported that Chick-fil-A had specifically agreed not to give money to Focus on the Family or the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM said Wednesday it has never received money from the foundation. Focus on the Family has.

This time it looks like the media is fishing for stories, pouncing on ones that seem to obvious. Sometimes the story isn’t as juicy as it appears and could be left alone. Remember, the Internet often honors stupid stories, so it takes discipline to resist them.

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5 responses to “Remember Chick-fil-A? Still making news!”

  1. So we are told that companies should stay out of politics. I don’t remember anyone in the LAT story calling for, say, Starbucks to withdraw their support for same-sex marriage. Should I google up some treatment addressing giving to broth sides of the question? Could I find such stories?

  2. Not only do I think many mainstream media types are just “looking for a story” here, it seems they are playing selective fact-check to do so. As you pointed out, they went to tweets and a select few other sources whose responses most of us could predict with the blink of an eye.

    Earlier this summer, when Chick-Fil-A received the wave of support from its patrons, media coverage centered on live locations, local eating establishments. NO, not much new was reported in this case.

    The only thing new for mainstream media types was the straw man they created.

  3. If companies should stay out of politics, why do we hear nothing of Manhattan Storage’s “ads” devoted not to their services, but pushing gay “marriage” and “gun control”? (And going out of their way to insult Republicans?)

  4. Will, that’s a good question.

    THE BLAZE is the main news source that covered the company’s long-standing attacks using primary source information. I found it interesting when going ot Manhattan Storage’s site that reviewers commended their service while disapproving of their politically charged ads.

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