CNBC Pushes Corporate Signaling as Companies Run Away From SCOTUS Abortion Issue – Opinion

The financial networks seem confused by the reason companies might not want to raise a topic as controversial as abortion.

The corporate landscape is a complex one. I find it difficult to understand why companies would be willing to get involved in social issues, even though this might seem like logical. This not only puts you at risk of losing customers but also causes other businesses to suffer.

This week — so far, at least — it appears that most corporations have wisely decided to remain taciturn about the flare-up regarding the Supreme Court being poised to repeal Roe v. Wade. Before you go all praise-worthy, the truth is there’s still a significant example of this type of corporate error in the news. Add in the fact that abortion is a highly unstable topic, and the task becomes easier to determine which company has the guts to set off the fire alarm from its public relations section.

CNBC seems to be baffled that Wall Street has remained silent until this point. Two of their writers, Melissa Repko and Lauren Feiner, were confounded that there was little to be heard from the business sector, and they were intent on finding…something.

It’s not surprising that Disney has been quiet on this matter. This is a surprising revelation for any reporter in business, and it’s even more so to a layman. It is quite obvious that boardrooms are silent on the matter, but these journalists were not. They tried to generate commentary.

The companies were reluctantly to respond to a draft Supreme Court decision, which would invalidate abortion rights. Several companies including Disney, American Airlines, and Walmart have not yet issued statements or responded to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Get in touch ‘You Don’t Say?’ gif —> here.

Even US Chamber of Commerce and trade associations had very little to share. Many corporate spokespersons have been retreating from the topic of abortion because there are no positive outcomes. No matter what tepid a company’s position might be on any side of this issue, it will face a lot of backlash from others. Ask yourself, what commercial benefits could be achieved? 

The writers did find someone to give a serious reading of the subject.

“There is no upside in speaking out alone on this. So that is why they need to work collectively,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, professor and senior associate dean of the Yale School of Management. “Nobody wants to have 40% of the country mad at them.”   

Disney is a great example of how businesses can address social problems such as these. It is best to ignore responding. It was costly for Disney to engage in the discussion about Florida’s recent parental rights law. There was no sound reason for Disney to pick a side with a bill that had no bearing on its operations, as it concerned merely the standards set inside of classrooms and granting parents more access to the child’s curriculum.

Disney took on an antagonistic role by succumbing to loud cranks and biased media, was faced with a backlash and polls showed a growing discontent among customers. The stock price has also seen new lows. This was followed by the decision of the state legislature to withdraw the exclusive provisions, which the company enjoyed for many decades. 

It was not necessary for Disney to issue any statement. Given the urgency of the abortion debate, it is not necessary for a company or organization to issue an official statement. CNBC’s editorial team is dismayed by this. 

They used five other staffers to call around to as many companies, looking to draw out a comment, getting only some wan PR comments from Yelp, and one company taking a firm stand of opposition – it was from a dating app.

Apart from this CNBC interrogation, Levi Strauss & Co. In fact, has come out strongly against. Watch this space to see if any negative consequences arise. The company made the move to demonstrate that they don’t believe non-birthing persons, and an equal segment of women, should buy blue jeans. 

Many companies have been caught in this trap over the past few years. It is absurd to believe that only a small number of social media users who complain about problems represent public opinion. For a lot of companies, the people who complain loudest are not your customers. Companies have learned this over the years.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Target, the NFL, Gillette – and numerous others all the way up to current day Disney – have experienced adverse marketplace blowback following bold announcements about social issues. People who want to pressure companies into supporting a cause they believe in are selling it. These people convince corporations to act, but then they fail support that company when a portion of dedicated customers is driven off. 

The same pattern has been in place for many years. Possibly we are seeing a sense of dawning coming over the corporate boardrooms and the PR departments that the best thing for them to do is also about the easiest – just don’t say anything, and you will be far better off in the end.

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