Glenn called the Salt Lake City Tribune’s wild accusations against him ‘one of the most irresponsible things I have ever, ever witnessed.’ in media. Out of all the smears that have been thrown at Glenn, this one stands out - but the paper’s reaction to this blatant mistake is even more outrageous than the article itself. The whole situation has made Glenn reconsider his longstanding opposition to boycotts.
In the past, when Glenn has strongly disagreed with a company he has always chosen to create something in order to replace it. Back in 2011, Levi's announced that they were the "uniform of progress". Glenn wasn't happy, but he chose to spend his money on creating something new - 1791 Jeans. Those jeans were offering a high quality jean, much like Levi's was doing, but they were Made in the USA and represented the values of freedom and liberty over progressivism.
Today, Glenn was presented with a similar issue. The Salt Lake Tribune has demonstrated a complete and total disregard for the truth. One of their readers submitted a piece of commentary that impiled Glenn is a Nazi sympathizer because he displayed pieces from World War 2 era Germany at the Independence Museum, which displayed the history of America and emphasized periods of light and dark over the past few centuries. The paper decided to publish the piece on their website despite factual errors, including inaccurate information on the name of the venue and the event.
The author also grossly mischaracterized the museum and Glenn's intent when she said "I can’t help wondering what prompted Beck to collect such macabre objects and include them among his personal belongings. What are the virtues of owning Göring’s love letters, Hitler’s signature or a few drops of his blood? Surely, harboring such items adheres to a personality cult and suggests a sympathizer rather than a critic."
Glenn explained in the weeks leading up to the event that the museum was intended to show the points of light and dark in history and the importance of faith to American history.
Pat and Stu, alongside many readers, have pointed out the inaccuracies of the piece to the Salt Lake Tribune, a Salt Lake City paper that saw enough merit in the article to publish it for the public. In response, the paper has chosen to simply say it was an opinion piece:
@MichaelSadick It's reader commentary, which is a long-standing part of our Sunday opinion section. Anyone can submit @ firstname.lastname@example.org@DeborahLynnekit Reader commentaries have run for decades in our opinion section. Entirely separate from the newsroom operation.
— Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) July 31, 2013
How does Glenn respond to a company that has given up on the values of it's profession?
"I think the "Salt Lake Tribune" is a slanted, bigoted newspaper. That doesn't care about facts, apparently, doesn't care about facts. At least when it comes to us, which is strange," Glenn said.
For years, Glenn has been vocal about his distate for boycotts. He would rather there be more voices than less, and people would pick the winners by voting with their dollars and their time. That's why he has created TheBlaze as an alternative to the mainstream media, and 1791 Jeans as an alternative to Levi's. Both businesses have been succesful.
But Glenn also said that throughout history when people have been confronted with bigotry and hatred, they have used boycotts to change things. He pointed to Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and South Africa during apartheid.
"I have been look at what changes things. For instance, what changed Apartheid? What changed that? People getting together and saying 'I'm not going to buy anything from South Africa. Won't trade with you.' So it was a boycott that applied a lot of pressure" Glenn said.
"We are a different people. That's what my whole speech was about yesterday, we are different. We believe in you can make it, you can do it. We are positive, create something. Don't destroy something."
"However, there has to be a part of it that has to be 'don't do business with people who are trying to take you apart' and be very clear. We don't do business with these kinds of people. We don't."
Stu and Glenn did have a disagreement over the issue on air. Glenn's record on boycotts, which Stu has always supported, is that there shouldn't be the formal activism component that the left uses with boycotts. Instead, the focus should be on creating alternatives. But on radio today, Glenn said there needed to be more "teeth":
STU: It's an question of an organizing thing, where you are out there telling people what to do. We need to do this all at once. Look, you have always expressed your belief on individual company and what you think where you should spend your money. And that's always fine. There's not a line there -- you are talking about what you do in your life. But asking people to think about it themselves and question whether they should --
GLENN: I got it. I'm with you. I've got it. I'm with you, but here's the thing: You don't have any teeth with that, Stu.
STU: What are you talk about? There's no teeth in this network?
GLENN: No, not talking about the network.
STU: It's a huge part of this. One thing we always complain about, and this example happens to be about media coverage, so what have we done in the past? We launched a network. Right now, who is winning this battle? The "Salt Lake Tribune" as a distribution of 110,000. The Blaze will have 13 million unique viewers this month. Who is winning this battle? It's a long road. We are approaching this the correct way, we are changing the media landscape by giving people options and letting them make their minds up. Not trying to silence them. I want to hear the beliefs.
Clearly, the debate wasn't going to be settled in one day.
But going back to the original question: Has Glenn changed his stance on boycotts?
Right now, his stance doesn't really seem to be different than his call for people to "put your money where your heart is", in other words support the businesses that represent your values. Create alternatives where there are none. Live your principles. And don't support those businesses that tear down and mock the things you know to be true.