Conservative commentator Dan Bongino, pictured in a 2018 file photo, publicly announced last week that he is canceling a sponsor that canceled an advertising buy for the Canadian publication The Post Millennial. (Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images)
By C. Douglas Golden October 18, 2021 at 10:20am
Cancellation can be a two-way street.
Nowhere is this more true than in the strange world of advertiser-targeting, long seen as a viable strategy on the left to choke off funding to conservative media. Leftist organizations like Media Matters for America and Sleeping Giants have run this grift for years with questionable success. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s how it goes:
Identify successful conservative media entity. Find out who advertises with it. Publicly call advertisers out on social media or through other channels. If possible, get a few more low-wattage blue checkmarks to pile on the outrage. If the advertiser doesn’t respond or doesn’t acquiesce, declare all-out war. If advertiser caves, chalk up another victory — and onward goes the march to ideological uniformity!
Irksome though this may be, it’s also inefficient. Try as Media Matters might, there aren’t enough Antioch College interns suffused with dangerous amounts of Red Bull and a preternatural certainty that anyone with a worldview that deviates significantly from theirs must never be paid a single cent to speak or write a word of their own opinion.
Too many Americans, it seems, still believe in free speech and are willing to do business with companies that do, too.
And there are times it backfires significantly — as was the case with the home-security firm SimpliSafe, The Post Millennial and commentator Andy Ngô.
The Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian website, has been a target of Nandini Jammi of Check My Ads — an agency that promises advertisers it will keep a “brand away from fake news, disinformation, and hate speech,” presumably of the conservative variety — and Chad Loder, a left-wing extremist with alleged antifa ties.
OK, HERE WE GO: In Nov. 2016, I co-founded Sleeping Giants. Today, we (@catthekin & I) are launching the next step of this journey: Check My Ads.
Our mission: to help you stamp out hate speech & racist websites from your digital ad buy all at once.https://t.co/6RHZRYXwik
— Nandodo Jamba Juice (@nandoodles) June 10, 2020
Jammi and Loder got SimpliSafe to stop advertising on The Post Millennial thanks to a Twitter call-out. So, on his Friday show, radio host Dan Bongino said he was canceling SimpliSafe’s advertisements on his platforms.
Are advertisers caving to leftist pressure?
“I had this sponsor, SimpliSafe, and they’re a great company, I have no problem with the company at all,” Bongino said. However, he noted the to-do with The Post Millennial and the details surrounding it.
“So this guy … Chad Loder, he doesn’t like people going after antifa,” Bongino said, noting that Loder had recently been served with a restraining order after allegedly making threatening statements toward an individual.
“So this Chad Loder tweeted to SimpliSafe on their official account, they’re a security company, trying to say, ‘Hey, why are you guys advertising on Andy Ngô’s site he’s associated with called The Post Millennial,” Bongino continued.
“Well, The Post Millennial is not run by Andy Ngô,” he said. “Andy Ngô is not a conservative. He’s an Asian, gay man who is not a conservative at all, but he exposes antifa violence.”
“It’s weird,” Bongino continued, “because SimpliSafe responded to Chad Loder, and said, ‘hi Chad, thanks for bringing this to our attention … We notified our advertising partners and this site is being excluded from our ad buy ASAP.’”
Enter Jammi, who Bongino described as an individual who sits “in her basement, eating Mallomars, feeding her cats” and “in between that she likes to initiate boycotts of conservative websites, which is quite hilarious.”
“So, cat-lady writes … ‘confirm: SimpliSafe is blocking its ads from The Post Millennial,’” Bongino said.
“Now keep in mind, and Nandini’s like: ‘Oh wow, look at this victory lap, look what we’re doing, this is so great,’ right?”
“Post Millennial may not have the assets I do,” Bongino continued, “or the resources, or the time, or the ‘go f*** yourself attitude’ I have. I’m sure they do — but they don’t have the assets to fight back that I do, which are substantial, thanks to people like Nandini.”
So, SimpliSafe can consider itself canceled from Bongino’s platforms.
“When you push me, I push back. You tell me to stop talking, I talk more,” Bongino said. “I thought, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we then told SimpliSafe ‘you better retract that’? Well, they haven’t yet — so we canceled them.“
Bongino said it was “sad because they were a great company and produce a good product — and I also canceled the service, too.”
Granted, fights work both ways. Jammi says she’s relishing it because she loves “dragging obscure, buttoned-up adtech companies straight into the ring with me. I love having them come face-to-face with the bottom feeders they’ve been fueling all this time.”
I love dragging obscure, buttoned-up adtech companies straight into the ring with me. I love having them come face-to-face with the bottom feeders they’ve been fueling all this time. pic.twitter.com/sFVvRddX0g
— Nandodo Jamba Juice (@nandoodles) October 15, 2021
Speaking of bottom-feeders, we were unable to access Loder’s reaction because his Twitter account is suspended for the moment.
Loder’s allies have chalked up the suspension due to mass reporting on the part of Andy Ngô’s followers, while Ngô wrote that Loder “glorified violence” on his account and noted an alternate account for a group Loder co-founded had also been taken down.
However, if the battle is between Bongino and Jammi, don’t count Bongino out — particularly because Jammi, Loder and their supporters are doing a good job of screening Bongino’s sponsors for him.
And cancellation cuts both ways.