Conservative activists are calling for a boycott of Ritz Crackers because the brand advertises during the Rev. Al Sharpton’s MSNBC talk show.
The boycott is led by Ben Shapiro, an editor for the conservative Breitbart News and author of the recent Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, and is part of Truth Revolt, a project by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Shapiro cited a couple of decades-old incidents in his decision to target Sharpton, and he said Ritz Crackers were selected as the first boycott because, in part, the brand was one of the few advertisers to respond to his questions about Sharpton’s show, PoliticsNation.
He dismissed a question about whether it was fair to punish Ritz’s parent company, Mondelez International, for replying to his inquiry. “Is it fair that in the political media we only quote people who give us a quote?” Shapiro said.
“Sharpton doesn’t dislike all ‘crackers,’” Shaprio wrote on the Truth Revolt website, referring to the Ritz brand and a 1994 speech the civil rights activist gave at Kean College.
“Do some cracker come and tell you, ‘Well, my mother and father blood go back to the Mayflower,’ you better hold your pocket,” Sharpton is quoted as saying. “That ain’t nothing to be proud of, that means their forefathers was crooks.”
“Sharpton is a racial extortionist who has instigated racial animosities, violence and division in America for the last forty years,” said the boycott’s organizers. “In better times, Sharpton would be stigmatized and condemned for the damage he has done. But today he is a primetime host on MSNBC—the charter cable news network for NBC News, and a favored outlet for the Obama administration’s spin doctors.”
Shapiro also cited Sharpton’s role in the Tawana Brawley case and the Crown Heights riots in New York in the 1980s, as well as more recently leading rallies against George Zimmerman to protest the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Truth Revolt was founded earlier this year to counter Media Matters, the liberal media watchdog group that monitors conservative talk radio programs and Fox News.
Shapiro has also been the target of media critics, including earlier this year when he reported that Chuck Hagel had given paid speeches for a group, “Friends of Hamas,” which turned out to be fictitious.