Fox News is not revealing its clear conflict of interest in defending Chick-fil-A against criticism over the fast-food restaurant’s stance against marriage equality as well as its donations to anti-gay organizations, according to Media Matters for America. This is due to the fact that the controversy stands to benefit HarperCollins, a publishing company owned by Fox News’ parent company, News Corporation.
Following the split with The Jim Henson Company, Chick-fil-A replaced the toys with the children’s books The Berenstain Bears, which HarperCollins is a publisher of. As reported by NBC News, a statement on the Berenstain company website said HarperCollins has been “working on this marketing project for more than a year.”
While all this has been going on, Fox has been defending Chick-fil-A, and not disclosing that it has an interest in doing so. Both Fox and HarperCollins are subsidiaries of News Corporation. If the HarperCollins marketing project suffers as a result of a decline in sales brought about by the Chick-fil-A controversy, News Corp. stands to take a hit to its bottom line, and this is inevitable as Chick-fil-A image has plummeted amongst consumers.
Find out more after the jump…
In a press release, the HRC said that new data indicates Chick-fil-A’s image with consumers has dropped dramatically since the controversy started last month. According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Chick-fil-A’s brand perception among consumers has dropped by more than 20 points since CEO Dan Cathy admitted to being “guilty as charged”. The drop is noticeable across the country – even in the South, a stronghold for the fast food chain.
“Americans by and large are not comfortable with Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBT donations, and the company’s proud embrace of these discriminatory practices is taking a deserved toll on its image,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Chick-fil-A supports organizations that demonize LGBT people on a regular basis – and in addition to being morally wrong, it’s also bad for business. In an era when corporations are supporting equality at unprecedented levels, Chick-fil-A is on the decidedly wrong side of history.”
BrandIndex regularly surveys consumers on six factors central to a company’s brand – quality, impression, value, reputation, satisfaction and willingness to recommend. Prior to Dan Cathy’s anti-LGBT remarks on July 16, Chick-fil-A’s brand perception stood at 65 – nearly 20 points above the national average for fast food restaurants. Less than two weeks later, by July 25, that number stood at 39. In the South, Chick-fil-A experienced an image perception drop from 80 to 44; in the Northeast those numbers went from 76 to 35.