Is Target Still Paying the Price for Citizens United?

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There are signs that Target is still suffering from the public relations disaster that followed its donation to Republican Tom Emmer, the Minnesota gubernatorial candidate—a contribution made possible by the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. The Minnesota Independent flags a study from Brandweek, a marketing industry trade magazine, which shows that the retail giant’s reputation took a big hit in early August and hasn’t recovered since. Progressive activists railed against Target after discovering that the LGBT-friendly company funneled money to Emmer, a right-wing social conservative. Brandweek says the campaign seems to have succeeded in dampening consumer perception of Target’s brand, citing its scores based on a “BrandIndex Report” that calculates “positive and negative perceptions of a brand.”

Here’s Brandweek’s analysis: “Although Target’s score recovered modestly from Aug. 12 through Aug. 24, it sunk again due to a rash of major newspaper op-eds, blog posts and publicity surrounding televised boycott ads from MoveOn PAC.”

Such findings might give corporations pause about openly pouring cash into campaigns. But that will partly depend on whether this kind of backlash has a lasting impact and whether watchdog groups will be as reactive the next time around.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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