Oreo Pride “Controversy”Posted: June 27, 2012
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about this “The Facebook” thing that the kids are into, but did you know that those queer lovin’ chocolate thieves down at Oreo posted this unabashed declaration of war against God.
At least, that’s kind of how it’s being reported and interpreted. Online news sources are going crazy with this story and are actually posting some of the original comments verbatim; ABC News going as far as to completely make up a story with the headline “Oreo Pride Rainbow Cookie Sparks Threat of Boycott”, when really, it’s just one or two people saying stuff like “I love Jesus and am never buying a cookie again” and that kind of drivel (the link, interestingly, omits “threat of”…)
Oreo and others have defended the decision, with a spokeswoman from Kraft (which makes Oreo) saying that ” Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness”, which of course implies that this ad is just that; not a promotion of gay rights, allegedly, but a “celebration” of “diversity and inclusiveness.”
Kraft’s response, I think, is a little two-faced. When I first saw the picture on Facebook (courtesy of everyone’s gay friend, George Takei), I barely looked at it because I knew exactly what it was and what would happen: it’s clearly a gay rights thing (full disclosure: I support gay marriage and gay rights and so on, but I really don’t care enough to do anything), and sure, that’s great. Kraft scores some brownie points and gets to hope that this will make Oreo cool in the gay community (whatever that is), and right on, they’re a company and making money is important to them… and I think their attempt to distance themselves is proof of that. They’ve clearly turned off some of the far right haters, and now they’re trying to win them back.
Of course, the media coverage is pretty silly. Other companies have launched similar things (because June 25 marks the one-year anniversary of legalized gay marriage in New York), including Google, yet not so much of a news story has been launched about them. Part of it might be that these things haven’t raised as big a stink… but they should be just as newsworthy, no?
The media’s coverage of this ultimately stinks of desperation. There is nothing else “going on” and plagued with dropping subscription rates and readership numbers, news media are attempting to become younger, hipper, and sleeker, and part of that involves covering what the kids are talking about — reporting on non-news issues that rise up on Facebook. Their misreporting of the issue, too (such as ABC’s “threat of boycott” thing), just makes things worse. Are they going to report on every single comment that pops up? Probably not. Most of the comments are either in support of the cookie, saying that they’ll never buy an Oreo again or that they’re “unliking” the page ASAP, or just batshit proclamations about how gays are doomed to hell.
I think the media’s coverage of this is about the bottom line, plain and simple, and like Kraft, they’re only covering “gay rights” in order to increase numbers. It’s a little sick, and certainly unethical. News coverage of such a non-issue only serves to incense and rile up homophobes anyway; thus creating a bigger and bigger story. The media has a right and responsibility to report on newsworthy things, even if there is a risk like that, but I don’t think reporting on non-issues to make them issues is newsworthy. News should be about newsworthy things, not about the news itself.
In any event, the whole issue will die down. Kraft won’t see a drop in their bottom line (and probably not a huge boost), and any boycotts will die off in a matter of months. In a few weeks Oreo (which is the most “vanilla” product on the market) will go back to being just that, a staple dessert / cookie treat. It’s a nonissue that will flare up for a bit before dying down into what it actually is” nothing.
And, oh yeah, the image isn’t even of a real cookie : you’ll have to live with black and white Oreos.