When corporations have agendas

The series of paid informational advertisements by Ingles has taken the store out of advertising and into advocacy. This is dangerous ground for a company because it alienates customers who don’t agree. The nationwide boycott of Hobby Lobby for its stance against parts of the Affordable Care Act is an example of where this can lead. Corporations are unreliable advocates for truth because they are required by law to operate for profit above all else.

A recent Ingles infomercial made the argument that consumers may be misled by alarmists posing as food experts online. The point is not all chemicals are bad for you. Unless Ingles takes responsibility for vetting all the additives found in its aisles, this is an irresponsible position. Some chemicals, hydrogenated oils and glyphosate residues, for example, are bad for you and are on Ingles’ shelves. To buy advertising space to convince us that we shouldn’t worry so much about chemicals and then sell us questionable ingredients is disingenuous.

The next in Ingles’ series is titled “Undeserved Health Halos” and argues that organic foods do not deserve their healthy reputation because some studies looking at nutritional benefits have been inconclusive. Organic food is sustainably raised and safe to eat. Whether it’s proven nutritionally superior is beside the point.

As alarming as the grocery manufacturer and GMO lobby is, the eagerness of corporations to publicly influence debate and promote opinions is equally alarming. Hobby Lobby’s recent U.S.┬áSupreme Court ruling elevating corporations to the status of personhood in matters of religious belief should serve as a cautionary tale. It is why corporations should stick to making profits and let the citizens and their elected representatives decide what is best for the republic and its actual citizens.

Han Winogrond
Asheville

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3 thoughts on “When corporations have agendas

  1. Really? A store involved in food shouldn’t be allowed to express views on food? Why not?

    If you disagree with what they are saying or their right to say it, shop elsewhere. There are a lot of choices.

    And why are you concerned that it might alienate their customers? Sounds more like you just don’t want them saying something you disagree with.

  2. Dionysis

    I’ve never heard of any corporation that did not “stick to making profits…” The pervasiveness of marketing is simply another effort towards that end. As for the quaint notion that “citizens and their elected officials” should be deciding what is best for “the republic and its actual citizens”, you are ignoring the fact that while citizens go through what amounts to a sham election cycle, and pay their salaries, these people are completely beholden to those who give them the most money, i.e. corporations (directly or indirectly), including now foreign corporations (thanks Supreme Court, Inc.). 80% of the average elected official’s time is spent fund-raising from special interest groups, which is a business investment for them. And it does not matter which political party it happens to be; it’s the system itself.

  3. At the heart of all of this and the single most egregious of perpetrators is corporate/industrial agriculture. Monsanto, Syrgenta, Dow, Bayer Crop Science, ADM, Cargil, ConAgra, Koch Brothers, et. al. Countries around the world have been rejecting GMOs/GE crops created to resist their chemical pesticides/herbicides. Consumers are demanding labeling at the very least and the banning of deadly, disease-causing chemicals. Bee and other pollinators are being wiped off the face of the earth with GMO plants, both edible and decorative that produce their own pesticides… Ingles and other food corporations are, in fact, being pressured by industry groups to “calm the fears” of consumers in regard to the safety of their products. It is up to the individual consumer to refuse to buy the poison sold on these grocers shelves. Look for products that clearly state “no gmo” and read labels…. BUT be cautious, label wording and interpretation is changing in order to fool the consumers.

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