Of course we should use consumer pressure to beat fake news

An interesting proposal over in the New York Times - itself something of a novelty -  about how that menace of fake news might be beaten. We, as consumers, should complain to the advertisers who place ads on such and thus cut the practice off at the wallet.

Yes, of course, consumer power is almost always the answer to things we don't like

Mr. Phillips had just engaged in a new form of consumer activism, one that is rewriting the rules of online advertising. In the past month and a half, thousands of activists have started to push companies to take a stand on what you might call “hate news” — a toxic mix of lies, white-supremacist content and bullying that can inspire attacks on Muslims, gay people, women, African-Americans and others.

In mid-November, a Twitter group called Sleeping Giants became the hub of the new movement. The Giants and their followers have communicated with more than 1,000 companies and nonprofit groups whose ads appeared on Breitbart, and about 400 of those organizations have promised to remove the site from future ad buys.

Some might think that Breitbart isn't quite the right target there - but it is, it really is. Not because the site is any better or worse than any other but because consumer pressure is indeed the solution to things we don't like.

Note that it doesn't matter what it is that we don't like. If someone is doing something we don't like then it is not just our right but getting close to our duty to remove our money from those people. It is, after all, our money. The spending of our money being one way that we can shape the world in our desired image. The aggregation of how we all spend our money being that intensely democratic process by which we do indeed change the world into something closer to what we collectively desire - the collective being weighted by the accumulation of those individual votes and actions.

If someone is doing something you don't like then don't spend your money there. Ask that those you do spend money with do not too. Similarly, if you like something then spend more, encourage others to do so there. This just is what consumer sovereignty is about.

So, when do we get the British government to stop spending our taxes on job ads in The Guardian? After all, they do still at least occasionally employ a known KGB agent of influence and recipient of Moscow Gold, don't they? Such hateful behaviour really should not profit from our money, should it?

And yes, as the cookbooks do point out, sauce for the goose is indeed sauce for the gander.