Media Ignore Pro-Family Victory in McDonald's Boycott

Major news media are almost ignoring the victorious boycott of McDonald's by pro-family activists for promoting the homosexual agenda.

Yesterday, The American Family Association (AFA) ended its boycott of McDonald's after the fast-food chain pledged to remain neutral in the cultural battle over homosexuality.

Most mainstream media outlets ignored the story.  Searches of The Washington Post, USA Today and The New York Times revealed no coverage.  No nightly broadcast news programs reported the development.

AFA began the boycott because McDonald's, which markets heavily to families with small children, entered into a corporate partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  McDonald's gave $20,000 to the NGLCC last spring and Richard Ellis, now former vice-president of communications for McDonald's, joined NGLCC's Board of Directors.

Ellis has now resigned from NGLCC's board, and, according to AFA, McDonald's will not fill the vacancy. 

The Chicago Tribune did cover the story, but reporter Mike Hughett downplayed AFA's role in bringing about McDonald's change of course. 

Hughett wrote:

The conservative Christian group had been calling for Richard Ellis, formerly McDonald's vice president of U.S. communications, to step down from the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Ellis recently left his U.S. post and returned to an executive position in McDonald's Canadian operation, McDonald's officials said. Because Ellis is based in Canada and the gay and lesbian chamber is a U.S. association, Ellis resigned from its board, said Bill Whitman, a McDonald's spokesman.

Later in the story Hughett wrote:

The American Family Association also said McDonald's notified it that the restaurant giant has no plans to renew its membership in the chamber when it expires at the end of the year.

[Jack] Daly [McDonald's global chief communications officer] said the company is not a member of the chamber. McDonald's provided $20,000 to be one of the corporate sponsors of the chamber's annual fundraising gala, he said, but added that McDonald's has no plans to be a sponsor next year.

Hughett ended his article with one last attempt to discredit AFA's efforts:

The American Family Association claimed that McDonald's, through its association with the chamber, wasn't staying neutral “in the cultural war over homosexuality.” The group has undertaken other boycotts of big companies over similar issues, including one at Ford Motor Co. that ended in March.

The group wanted Ford to stop, among other things, making donations to gay groups and advertising on gay Web sites. The association said Ford met most of its demands, while Ford said its principles hadn't changed, but that it had reduced overall charitable spending and advertising because of its sizable financial losses.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the media are not covering AFA's success in convincing McDonald's to remain neutral on homosexuality.  To begin with, very few mainstream media outlets covered the start of the McDonald's boycott, as CMI previously reported.  Even a press conference held at the McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois last July by a coalition of pro-family organizations was largely ignored.

Nor is this the first time the media have refused to acknowledge a successful AFA gay-related boycott.  AFA spearheaded a two-year boycott of the Ford Motor Company over its advertising in homosexual-themed publications and sponsorship of homosexual events.  Nearly three-quarters of a million people signed a pledge promising to boycott Ford. A group representing 78 Ford dealers in North Texas sent a letter to Ford pleading for the company to stop promoting homosexual activism at the risk of offending traditional-minded consumers. Nevertheless, media outlets refused to investigate whether the boycott played any role in the $12.7 billion loss Ford suffered in 2006. 

Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.