boycotts

A year later, Wall Street Journal revisits 'Target's pricey social lesson' on transgender bathrooms

A year later, Wall Street Journal revisits 'Target's pricey social lesson' on transgender bathrooms

As I mentioned earlier this week, I'm in Dallas-Fort Worth enjoying some Texas Rangers baseball games with family and friends.

Of course, "enjoying" may not be the best verb since my team keeps blowing late-inning leads.

But I digress.

I'm staying at my parents' house, and somehow, the subject of Target stores came up in conversation. My mom mentioned that she hasn't shopped at Target since the retailer made a splash last year by touting its transgender-friendly toilets.

"I just don't think little girls should have to be afraid to go to the restroom and worry about who might be in there," she said.

In writing about the controversy last year, I admitted that I had no plans to boycott Target:

Maybe you've heard that a #BoycottTarget online petition has gained nearly 1 million signatures. I'm not one of them, mind you. I think boycotts are silly and have no intention to stop shopping at Target (although I'll take this opportunity to call on management to hire more cashiers). I'll also keep eating at Chick-fil-A (as often as possible!). And I'll maintain my PayPal account, even though I hardly ever use it.
However, from a journalistic perspective, I am interested in news coverage of the Target boycott.

At the time I called boycotts "silly," I didn't realize my mother would be participating. But seriously, the number of people I know — most of them conservative Christians — who have responded similarly to Target's LGBT activism has surprised me.

Perhaps there's a news story there?

Indeed.

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The seat of the matter: Most media updates on Target store controversy miss the obvious

The seat of the matter: Most media updates on Target store controversy miss the obvious

The Target store chain, rocked for months by controversy over its bathroom policy, finally threw in the towel and said it would spend $20 million to build single restrooms for all its stores. Coverage of the announcement, though, was less complete, much of it bypassing the moral/religious cause of the national media storm.

The fracas began this year after Target announced that anyone could use its restrooms based the gender he/she identified with. "Everyone -- every team member, every guest, and every community -- deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally," the statement said.

The announcement followed North Carolina's passage of a law requiring everyone to use the public restroom of his/her biological sex. Transgendered people, their LGBT allies and social liberals cried foul.
 
Perhaps Target saw a PR opportunity, but it backfired, drawing boycott demands via social media and pickets in front of some stores. For GetReligion readers, the key is that most of the opposition was coming from religious and cultural conservatives. We will come back to that.

This week, the chain confessed that earnings were down -- and, just coincidentally, it was adding the single restrooms.

Now you're up to speed. How have mainstream media been doing?  Not too well, in the case of America's largest newspaper chain. 

USA Today leads with the numbers -- adjusted earnings per share, same-store sales change and such -- then finally gets to the objections in the eighth paragraph:

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Transgendered people in public bathrooms? North Carolina coverage shows one side only

Transgendered people in public bathrooms? North Carolina coverage shows one side only

There are certain topics that anger the New York Times so much that the newspaper's editors drop all pretension of covering the story with any sense of accuracy and balance. Usually, media outlets have at least one dissenting voice explaining the minority point of view, but when it comes to anything to do with LGBT issues -- plus the perception of a law being passed without public scrutiny -- the Times erupts in righteous anger.

The first incident I’m about to describe occurred in North Carolina, a fairly conservative state. But there is a second, much lesser-known incident that occurred in Washington state that was the mirror opposite of what happened in Tar Heel land. 

About the first: There was a lot of indignation in several media outlets covering the North Carolina governor’s decision to sign a bill banning transgendered people from bathrooms that don’t match their birth gender and eliminating some anti-discrimination protections for homosexuals. Here is how the Times framed it:

A day after Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a sweeping law eliminating anti-discrimination protections for all lesbians, gays and bisexuals and barring transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the gender they were born with, the battle lines were clear in a bitterly divided state.
On social media and in public rallies, civil rights groups, businesses and politicians expressed dismay at the law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by the governor within just 12 hours during a hasty special session on Wednesday.
American Airlines, which employs 14,000 people in the state and has its second largest hub in Charlotte, along with other companies with operations in the state, including Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, Red Hat and Biogen, all issued statements critical of the new law.

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Doughnut holes: Story on Christians targeting Naughty Girls pastries is all sugar and no spice

Doughnut holes: Story on Christians targeting Naughty Girls pastries is all sugar and no spice

In the northwestern corner of Virginia — about 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. — the Naughty Girls Donut Shop is making headlines with accusations of harassment by conservative religious types.

Among other media outlets, Fox News 5 in the nation's capital picked up the tantalizing story.

Likewise, the Northern Virginia Daily ate up the story like a tasty pastry:

FRONT ROYAL -- Tiana Ramos, 17, said she opened Naughty Girls Donut Shop to give all outsiders a place to go. But not everyone is happy with her message.
Tiana and her mother, Natalie Ramos, have dealt with backlash from some members of the community claiming the business promotes promiscuous behavior.
Natalie Ramos issued a news release Tuesday in which she referred to Front Royal as "the Footloose town." The release stated "a strong Conservative Alliance group" in the community was protesting Naughty Girls' name, calling the shop a "bikini barista."
"I wanted the chance for Tiana to be able to defend herself," Natalie Ramos said Wednesday. "It's becoming too much. It's time for her to say, 'listen, this is what I'm doing, this is what I stand for, these are who we stand for, and we want your support."
Natalie Ramos said the harassment has been an ongoing issue.

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