In a surprising turn of events, Katrina Trinko, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Signal, shed light on the Associated Press’s uncritical acceptance of Target’s claim that conservative backlash had turned “violent.” As a result of Trinko’s investigation, the news organization made a minor correction to their report.
The controversy surrounding Target began with the promotion of a women’s swimsuit described as “tuck-friendly” and offering “extra crotch coverage.” Additionally, the hiring of an artist who had previously created Satanic merchandise to design various “Pride Month” products intensified conservative calls for a boycott of the retail giant. Target acknowledged in a statement that their stores had faced threats following the introduction of these items.
The company stated, “Since introducing this year’s collection, we have experienced threats impacting the safety and well-being of our team members while at work.” In light of the tense situation, Target expressed their intention to reassess their plans and remove content that has generated significant conflict.
The Associated Press initially reported, in a headline earlier this week, that Target stores had faced “intense backlash from some customers, including violent confrontations with their workers.” However, the source of this claim was not specified in Target’s statement. Katrina Trinko, from the conservative Heritage Foundation-affiliated Daily Signal, reached out to the Associated Press to gain more information. Consequently, the article was revised, and a sentence was added to the lead to temper the initial harshness: “Target said that customers knocked down Pride displays at some stores, angrily approached workers, and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores.”
Trinko raised valid questions in response to the revised article. What defines a video as “violent”? What constitutes hostile behavior towards an employee? What percentage of establishments witnessed disgruntled customers damaging Pride flags and posters?
Notably, the Associated Press did not provide an editor’s note explaining the reason behind the revision. Lauren Easton, the vice president of communications, clarified in an email to Trinko that as the Associated Press continued to investigate the story, they were able to gather more specific examples of the incidents that took place and subsequently updated the article accordingly.
Trinko highlighted a concerning development where California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, cited the AP piece as evidence of a “systemic attack on the gay community happening across the country.” This insinuation of conservatives being dangerous and posing a genuine threat to others is a new tactic employed by businesses and ideologues who feel the impact of conservative boycotts.
Trinko pointed out that the Left is experimenting with a new strategy due to concerns over Bud Light’s significant decline in sales over the past few years. She explained that long-term success for leftist activists relies on corporate support and promotion of their communist ideas. Trinko urged Target to provide evidence, or “receipts” as the younger generation says, to substantiate their claims. It is essential to review surveillance footage to understand the incidents that made workers feel unsafe and listen to the threats firsthand.
In the midst of these controversies, Target’s market capitalization has dropped from $70.4 billion to $65.0 billion over the past week, indicating a significant decline in its overall value.