The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation reversed its decision to cut funds for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood affiliates and apologized, saying the move had cast doubt on its “commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.”
The announcement came after an avalanche of criticism online from people voicing their dismay on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr about the move. The decision led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Planned Parenthood this week, including a $250,000 donation that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Thursday.
It’s not surprising to me that the Komen foundation made some fantastically bad decisions about supporting Planned Parenthood, or that they reversed them after a massive public outcry. What I find interesting is what this says about power and PR in the 21st century. Planned Parenthood has been a continual partisan whipping boy because of their firm stance that a woman has a right to choose, even though abortions are a tiny part of what they do. Komen has been very agressive in promoting their brand-Pink things and sole use of “The Cure”-even if only 20% of their money goes to cancer research.
It’s not easy to distinguish clear trends here, but it seems like the people can tell the difference between organizations that are mostly cattle and mostly hat, to mangle an old Texas-saying (everybody else does it, so why not me?). PR doesn’t count for as much in this media saturated environment, when the loudest and most consistent voices are actually your enemies. But clever organizations can take bad press and move with it, sticking to their guns and winning out in the end. The internet hates hypocrisy and loves an underdog.
I’ve longed believed that only when rhetoric matches reality can people make consistently good decisions. Hopefully, this is a step towards a world with more truth and less ‘truthiness’.