It’s rare for media companies to take any sort of moral stand in lieu of monetary gain, but BuzzFeed stepped up to the plate, backing out of a $1.3 million advertising deal with the Republican National Committee (RNC).
In an email from BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti, he expressed to his employees that he could not, in good conscience, continue to follow through on a deal with RNC with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee: “The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs,” he wrote.
He gave a specific analogy for his reasoning—“We must make business exceptions: we don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.”
BuzzFeed was set to air advertisements for both the Democratic and Republican parties, although RNC strategist Sean Spicer has claimed that the RNC never intended to use BuzzFeed as a platform for advertising, according to Politico.
This is a bold and powerful move from BuzzFeed, and echoes a similar choice by the Huffington Post—they include footnotes on every Trump article that notes Trump is a “serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther.”
Media outlets prioritizing ethical boundaries over profits is something we need much more of, considering mainstream outlets such as CNN and MSNBC have given incredibly excessive coverage to Trump for the revenue he brings (Trump reportedly received over $2 billion of free media coverage over the past year).
CBS CEO Les Moonves even explicitly stated that Trump “may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS…The money's rolling in and this is fun.”
Peretti is no Moonves, and he should be lauded for taking a moral approach to a sticky situation in which his company could have made millions off an ethically questionable advertising deal.
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