CBS News Hits Firefox CEO's Support of Traditional Marriage: 'A Firestorm of Bad PR'

CBS This Morning reporter Ben Tracy offered a one-sided take on liberal outrage against an internet browser's CEO and his support for traditional marriage. Brendan Eich is the new head of Mozilla, the company behind Firefox. Eich's crime? Tracy informed, "Six years ago, he personally donated a thousand dollars to support Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The journalist brought on Peter LaMotte, a business executive to lecture that "any public statement by a corporation needs to factor in how it represents the firm as a whole and how it's going to affect the brand for years to come." This prompted Tracy to chide, "Which is why Firefox is now in a firestorm of bad PR." The reporter featured no clips of anyone supporting Eich or questioning whether the suppression of dissenting ideas is a good thing. 

The best CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King could manage was to note: "[Eich] admits that the boycott could hurt Firefox but he also believes he's a good fit at Mozilla and has no the intention of stepping down." 

The dating website OKCupid attempted to dissuade subscribers from using Firefox. Anyone attempting to access OKCupid from the website got this message: "Those who seek to deny love and instead force misery, shame and frustration are our enemies and we wish them nothing but failure." 

A transcript of the April 2 segment is below: 


7:34

CBS GRAPHIC: Not Okay With Cupid: Dating Site Blocks Firefox Over Gay Rights 

GAYLE KING: A popular dating website is at the center of battle raging online this morning. As Ben Tracy reports, there is no love lost in the high stakes showdown involving one of the world's biggest browsers. 

BEN TRACY: The dating website OKCupid  prides itself on matching all couples, including gays and lesbians. So it was not okay for OKCupid when it was learned that Brendan Eich was named new CEO of Mozilla, the company behind the highly trafficked web browser Firefox. Six years ago, he personally donated a thousand dollars to support Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage. 

CROWD CHANTING: Homophobia has got to go! 

TRACY: From Monday until late last night, anyone accessing OKCupid using Firefox saw this message. Calling out Mr. Eich directly, it said in part: "Those who seek to deny love and instead force misery, shame and frustration are our enemies and we wish them nothing but failure." 

PETER LAMOTTE (Levick Senior VP and Digital Communications Chair): They saw an opportunity in this particular example to really make a stand, a public stand, that has put a lot of attention on them and a lot of attention on their service. 

TRACY: OkCupid has three and a half million active users and Mozilla wants them to use Firefox to access the sight. Since Eich was hired, half the company's board members have now quit in protest. The company issued a statement saying it "supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. OkCupid never reached out to us to let us know of their intentions, nor to confirm facts." Chick-fil-A faced a boycott two years ago when the company donated to an organization fighting same sex marriage. And the A&E network faced protests when it suspended and then reinstated the star of its hit show Duck Dynasty after he made anti-gay comments. 

LAMOTTE: In today's day and age with social media being so immediate that any public statement by a corporation needs to factor in how it represents the firm as a whole and how it's going to affect the brand for years to come. 

TRACY : Which is why Firefox is now in a firestorm of bad PR.  For CBS This Morning, Ben Tracy, Los Angeles. 

KING: Eich spoke for the first time about the controversy with our partners at CNET last night. He admits that the boycott could hurt Firefox but he also believes he's a good fit at Mozilla and has no the intention of stepping down. He also said that his company includes supporters of same sex marriage. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org