Jonathan Turley op-ed targets Disney acknowledging ‘misalignment with public and consumer tastes’

Disney is finally learning a centuries-old lesson about capitalism: If you want to succeed as a company, you have to create things that consumers actually want to spend money on.

According to legal analyst Johnathan Turley, the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith, who, 300 years ago, touted the theory of free markets (better known as “capitalism”) “is giving the ‘House of Mouse’ the middle finger.”

“Born in June 1723, Smith went on to explain how the ‘invisible hand’ of the market worked as people exercised their choices between certain products. It can shape economies and challenge whole governments,” Turley wrote in an op-ed for The Hill. “One company in particular appears to be learning that lesson.”

“In recent filings, Disney appears to acknowledge that Smith’s invisible hand is giving the ‘House of Mouse’ the middle finger,” he continued. “In a new corporate disclosure, Disney acknowledges that its controversial political and social agenda is costing the company and shareholders.”

Disney admitted in its annual SEC report that it faces “risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel and consumer products.”

“[T]he success of our businesses depends on our ability to consistently create compelling content,” the company notes.

“Generally, our revenues and profitability are adversely impacted when our entertainment offerings and products, as well as our methods to make our offerings and products available to consumers, do not achieve sufficient consumer acceptance,” Disney stated. “Further, consumers’ perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands.”

Turley called the admission “an implied nod to Smith.”

“Disney and other companies have previously ignored consumer backlash over corporate campaigns such as Disney’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law,” he wrote. “Corporate officials once avoided political controversies and focused on selling their products and services rather than viewpoints.”

Four of the media giant’s recent movie releases — “productions denounced by critics as pushing political agendas or storylines,” according to Turley — have dramatically flopped, costing Disney a reported billion bucks.

“Yet until now, the company has continued to roll out underperforming movies as revenue has dropped,” Turley wrote. “What’s more, Disney stars persist in bad-mouthing its fabled storylines and undermining its new productions. The company admits that it has suffered a continued slide in ‘impressions’ (that is, viewership) by 14 percent.”

The conservative attorney continued:

For shareholders, it may seem counterintuitive that corporate executives would trade off profits for political or social agendas. However, it does serve as a rationale for individual corporate executives who are professionally advanced when they champion such causes. For example, when Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, pledged to drop Bud Light’s “fratty reputation and embrace inclusivity,” she was heralded by colleagues, even though her move went on to tank that brand as a whole. Indeed, Bud Light has still not recovered from the loss of billions in profits, market share, and overall market value.

Even as public trust in journalists plummets, the media is mirroring the “woke” push for “advocacy journalism, abandoning objectivity,” Turley stated.

“With falling subscriptions and public backlash… the journalists continue to saw at the thin branch upon which they are sitting,” he wrote.

Academia, too, is weathering the criticism for “their intolerance of opposing views and for purging faculties of conservative or libertarian professors.”

In both cases. Turley explained, individuals are willing to take the economic hits to their professions rather than risk being blocked for advancement by their bosses.

“Each of these tales of decline represents a variation on another economic model called the ‘tragedy of the commons’ whereby everyone makes personal decisions to their own immediate advantage that ultimately kill off the very resource that sustains everyone,” he wrote. “All of these corporate, journalistic and academic figures are acting for their immediate personal advantage at the expense of their companies and institutions.”

“Disney’s products are now viewed by many conservatives as empty virtue signaling and endless attempts to indoctrinate children,” he stated. “Moreover, when the company publicly declares its opposition to a popular parental rights bill in Florida, it is moving away from a commercial to a political focus.”

“That is the problem with the invisible hand,” Turley wrote. “You can bring movies to the public, but you cannot make them sell.”

On X, users believed Disney is getting exactly what it deserves.

“This is appropriate, market-based punishment. No need for government take-overs or big government solutions,” one user remarked. “The market has already done its job and Disney is course correcting.”

“Their woke employees look down their noses at their customers,” said another. “How to destroy your brand from within.”

“These companies get so large and profitable, they think they have all the answers,” wrote a third. “They don’t.”

“Go back to entertaining people,” the user urged Disney. “Be wholesome. Don’t spread hate or try to get kids to mutilate themselves. We will never accept that.”


Melissa Fine


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