business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a discussion in this space yesterday about the new California plastic bag ban, in which one MNB reader argued passionately against it, and wrote that "it’s amazing that a state this large and diverse is held hostage by what folks in two major population centers; San Francisco and L.A. want…They rule the roost."

My response:

That's what major population centers do. It is called democracy.

To which one MNB user responded:

This law was imposed not by a reasonably-informed legislature but by a public vote.  That's not representative "democracy," it's mob-rule.

This is a fair point. To be sure, the California system in which voters can get a referendum on pretty much anything can lead to institutional chaos, and create laws that are unworkable. But let's face it ... if the legislature had imposed the ban, and there had been no vote. there would've been someone writing to me saying that "the law was imposed by a bought-and-paid-for legislature out of touch with the needs of business and the electorate."

We had a piece yesterday about how Newman's Own is adjusting its marketing to compensate for the fact that millennials may have no understanding of the history and mission of the company, and may not even know who Paul Newman was.

Leading one MNB user to write:

Like Betty Crocker over the years, when will it be time for a new Paul Newman?

Sounds heretical to me.

Besides, there is a real difference. Betty Crocker is a fictional creation. Paul Newman was a real guy.

Yesterday's Eye-Opener was about the current political climate and how companies have to pick their way through the cultural and emotional minefield carefully.

One MNB reader responded:

I am one of the many that are concerned about the message my compatriots sent to our nation with their votes. I fear that open racial hostility is going to become more acceptable than it has been in decades.

Last night cemented my fear. I teach religious education in our parish, and it has always been a positive and compassionate spirit in there. Yesterday had a different tone though. One of our students told another to go back to Mexico. The kid he said it to is half Mexican, yet his father is a 25 year Army veteran who spent close to a decade in the Middle East fighting for our country.  He's been shot at and rocked by explosions to keep this little brat's lifestyle safe. It both broke my heart and infuriated me. We have NEVER had any comments made like this in the program.   I really hope this doesn't turn into the trend that I thinks it is going to.

From another reader:

Seriously, the only doom and gloom predictions are all in the heads of the reporter. The man hasn't even taken the oath and already the naysayers are out in force.

My mother use to tell us boys growing up..."always give people a chance...they may surprise you in the end.... and jumping to conclusions will always come back to haunt"

Mom always made sense of things. More than I can say for the liberal media!

We should trust the process...Don't you think?

No. Not always.

I'm a child of the late sixties and seventies. Trusting the process wasn't part of the program, which is why so many of us ended up on protest lines. To be honest, I wish I'd protested against Nixon more, not less.

But that's ancient history.

I think it is a mistake to ascribe all the unrest to the media, suggesting that journalists are ginning it up for their own purposes. I'd bet that the kid in that religious education class wasn't responding to media prodding. He was reflecting something that some people - and I emphasize the some - now think is appropriate.

To say the media is responsible for the unrest is as much a mistake as for Democrats to think that they could win an election without understanding the fears and appealing to the hopes of middle class Americans.

People with serious concerns deserve to be taken seriously. Not dismissed out of hand.
KC's View: