This Wednesday, I reported that the media were falsely reporting that Chick-fil-A had decided to cease donations to “anti-gay” groups. Scores of so-called reputable news outlets like the Los Angeles Times and ABC News ran headlines declaring that Chick-fil-A had changed its policy toward giving to anti-gay groups. Yesterday, Chick-fil-A set the record straight, saying that their corporate giving has been “mischaracterized” and calling out “events from Chicago this week that have once again resulted in questions around our giving”:
A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.
The lack of due diligence from reporters like the LA Times’s Tiffany Hsu led to scores more erroneous headlines, as articles like hers were then picked up by affiliates like the Denver Post and spread around the country.
On Wednesday, I pointed out that all of these headlines seemed to be taking one group’s press release–the Civil Rights Agenda–along with Alderman Moreno’s comments in a Chicago Tribune article about a letter he received from the company, and printing them without checking their validity against the actual documents.
I did fact-check Alderman Moreno and the Civil Rights Agenda’s press release on Wednesday. And when I did, I determined that, at best, we had no way to corroborate what they were saying; at worst, they were falsifying and spinning what was, in fact, no change whatsoever from Chick-fil-A’s original corporate giving policy. The actual quote from the letter to Alderman Moreno:
The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.
Alderman Moreno has once again thrust a company, one that wished to open in his ward and provide employment to his constituents, into the spotlight for his own personal gain. When will Alderman Moreno, and the woefully inattentive media that backs him up, be held accountable for their casual manipulation and mischaracterization of a private company?