In the news business, it's easy to get cynical (just look at what we saw on Fox News, below) but then some days you start to see good news pile up, and today that good news is a list of Very Important Brands choosing to fight for racial justice. Let's get into it.
FOX'S ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE
On Tuesday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity compared President Donald Trump to George Floyd, arguing they are both victims of "crooked cops."
As Hannity tells it, the FBI, in investigating the president's alleged connections to Russia, "tried to rig an election and destroy Donald Trump at all costs." (They didn't.)
Hannity later denied he was comparing the two events. (He was.)
- BE AWARE: That moment was just the cherry atop a sundae of misinformation coming from the network. For several days, Fox has been playing back old riot footage over and over like it's the Zapruder film. You'd be forgiven for thinking Minneapolis is still burning (it's not), or that the unrest is getting worse in America's cities (it's not). CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter has more on the alternative universe that's playing out on Fox.
THE MARKET NO LONGER CARES WHETHER TRUMP WINS
Conventional wisdom goes that Wall Street likes a Republican in office, especially when stocks are on a tear like they are right now.
But lately, it seems the market no longer cares who's leading in the polls.
The fact that Trump is now lagging behind Joe Biden as stocks rally is noteworthy. Up until recently, the market had been moving practically in lockstep with the general election polls, so Biden's rise should have led to a dip. It hasn't.
"The stock market has decoupled from Trump," one strategist said. CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica explains why.
BUSINESSES GET BEHIND BLACK LIVES MATTER
Some Very Big Names in Corporate America are signaling they're ready to work to correct racial injustices. (As for CrossFit ... we'll come back to that.)
- Sephora just became the first major retailer to take the "15% pledge," saying it will dedicate 15% of its store shelf space to products from black-owned businesses.
- NASCAR is banning the flying of Confederate flags at its races.
- Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google Voice all have new answers for when you ask about Black Lives Matter.
- Reddit tapped Michael Seibel as the first black board member in the company's history. The move comes less than a week after co-founder Alexis Ohanian stepped down from Reddit's board in the hopes that a black candidate would replace him.
- L'Oreal has asked model Munroe Bergdorf to advise the company on diversity and inclusion, three years after it dropped her for comments about systemic racism
- Amazon will stop providing its facial-recognition technology to police forces for one year. The decision follows a similar move by IBM, which said this week it will no longer offer facial-recognition services because they are used "for mass surveillance, racial profiling [or] violations of basic human rights and freedoms."
- Adidas will hire black and Latinx workers for at least 30% of its new roles in the United States.
OK, ABOUT CROSSFIT ...
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, hours before tweeting controversial statements about George Floyd on Saturday, made insensitive comments about race on a video call with affiliate gym owners, according to audio obtained by CNN Business.
On the call, a gym owner from Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, said that her community and members of her gym were mourning Floyd's death. She asked why the company had not made any statement about the killing, according to a recording of the call obtained by CNN Business.
"We're not mourning for George Floyd. I don't think we or any of my staff are," Glassman said on the call. "Can you tell me why I should mourn for him?"
Glassman resigned as CEO of CrossFit Tuesday night. CNN Business' Clare Duffy has the latest.
THE STARBUCKS OF YORE
Remember going into a cafe, standing in line, chatting with your favorite barista, listening to the gentle harmonies of steaming milk and words like "triple shot venti mocha chai"? That's the warm experience Starbucks sold to the world. And it may become lore we tell our grandchildren about.
Starbucks announced Wednesday it is shifting its retail strategy to focus on its pick-up-only and carryout business. Which makes sense for a couple of reasons.
- First, the rise of in-app ordering had already set us down this path. Who has time for lines and chit-chat?
- Then coronavirus hit. Suddenly, standing alongside strangers in a crowded shop feels more like a liability than a pleasant stop on your commute (Commutes! Another thing to tell your grandkids about.)
BIG PICTURE: Everything will be different after Covid-19. Starbucks has the bandwidth to make these kinds of huge strategy shifts. Smaller chains and independent cafes will have to get creative to survive, like this restaurant that put shower curtains around tables.