Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D) on Sunday called on progressives to help cripple Breitbart News’ business model with an aggressive and shrewd campaign of boycotting advertisers.
In a tweet on Sunday, Dean encouraged his followers to share a plan highlighted in a recent New York Times article titled “How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News.”
Thanks to NYT article I am going to look at Breitbart next week and refuse to buy any product I see advertised there. Please RT.
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 9, 2017
According to the Times, a group called Sleeping Giants have been successful at forcing advertisers to blacklist Breitbart by taking screen shots of advertisements that appear next to hate speech on the conservative website. The group then uses the screen shots to shame the advertisers on social media.
The tactic has been surprisingly successful, according to Sleeping Giants. Zappos, 3M, Patagonia and Warby Parker have all reportedly pulled their ads. Conservatives threatened to boycott Kellogg’s after it became one of the first advertisers to ban Breitbart. But the company received unexpected public relations and sales benefits when people opposed to fake news started an effort to donate Kellogg’s products to soup kitchens.
Participatory Culture Foundation board member Nicholas Reville, who has coordinated with the Sleeping Giants group, told the Times that companies realize the importance of embracing diversity.
“You have to be inclusionary if you’re going to try to sell to a very large audience,” he explained.