Reuters restores link to 2007 story on Target Che Guevara CD boycott

When the news of the current Target boycott over "tuck swimsuits" and Satanic designers broke, what immediately came to mind was that once upon a time, Target was leery of offending its customers.

That's important, because these days, Target seems intent on insulting its customers, even when it pulls merchandise. I wrote about that here.

Reuters did a very good non-biased piece about the matter on Jan. 20, 2007, but when the latest story broke about Target offending its customers through sales of radical merchandise and moving swiftly to correct the matter, the link to that story (which I had saved here) was mysteriously broken.

Why would that be broken at a time like this, given that the story could give useful context? It had been up for so long, I'd checked it recently and saw that it was still there, and now it wasn't.

Did someone at Reuters not want people reading about how Target had sought to put its customers first in the past?

Sure, it could be tech glitches, or, it could be costs. But it was kind of strange that the Reuters link had been there very recently, and now was gone.

The context is important because these days, as John Hinderaker notes on Power Line, Target seems to want to offend their customers, not even caring about what it does to their bottom line. Did someone at Reuters not want anyone seeing that?

I couldn't say, so I wrote to Reuters on May 24 and asked if they could restore the link. I wanted to link it to my blog on the current controversy. I have written them in the past about such matters and normally get a very nice, prompt, response from them, but the reply I got this time, though prompt, seemed like bibble babble, not addressing the issue at all:

I emailed:

Case created with number: 00076128

Is there any chance this broken link could be fixed? It provides valuable background to current issues in the news:
The reply: 
Hi Monica,

Thank you for reaching out to Reuters Customer Support.

In regard to your request, we do not provide that information since it is part of the archive.

Please find the below link which is related to the same topic:

We will be closing the case at this time but don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further request.

Have a great day!

Best regards,

{Name redacted}
Reuters Customer Support
Reuters News Agency?| Thomson Reuters


I wasn't asking for information, I was asking for a broken link to be fixed. And how the story being part of the archive could be a reason for not giving information didn't make sense to me.

All I could think was: What can you do? It's their website.

I checked again today ... and Reuters restored the link.

Yay, Reuters!

It almost sounds like the request was kicked upstairs or something. Was I being paranoid? I wonder what happened -- but I am happy they restored it.

That story was very important to me personally because I was kind of involved in the happenings in 2006 and the Reuters account was the best.

Back in 2006, I wrote this editorial at Investor's Business Daily on Dec. 13, 2006 after seeing firsthand with my own eyes the Che merchandise on the store shelves at Target in Culver City, California. I even bought one in order to be able to prove it, since the display was so outlandish I wondered if anyone would believe it. I wrote about it here:

Target, the retailer that distinguished itself last year by banning Salvation Army bell-ringers, has topped itself this yuletide by selling Che Guevara CD cases for a little tyrant-chic right under your tree.

The big box retailer has jumped onto the Guevara bandwagon, selling the murderous revolutionary’s image as if it had just turned its stores into Marxist rally stalls.

What next? Hitler backpacks? Pol Pot cookware? Pinochet pantyhose? Target gives this monster a pass, while using common sense on almost everything else it sells.

The Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady followed with another piece on the Target Che merchandise dated Dec. 22, 2006.

After that, Target pulled the wokester merchandise, stating that it was sorry.

According to the Associated Press:

“It is never our intent to offend any of our guests through the merchandise we carry,” Target wrote in a statement on Wedneday. “We have made the decision to remove this item from our shelves and we sincerely apologize for any discomfort this situation may have caused our guests.” 

Reuters wrote their piece on it, too, which was more detailed, and Yahoo! Finance carried charts showing big stock plunges for the retailer as a result -- I don't have a link to those.

The Miami Herald deserves some credit for a critical part of the story, too, citing Babalu blog, the top Internet outlet for the Miami Cuban-American community (and one I used to contribute to), as the activator for the boycott of Target following the two editorials, which, the Miami Herald noted, seemed to be the last straw: After that, Target pulled the CD cases from its shelves, and Miami Cuban customers stated they were satisfied with that outcome. Boycott averted.

Babalu had linked both the IBD and WSJ pieces, and while the Miami Herald noted the boycott from Babalu, along with some choice comments. The Miami Herald link is broken, too, but in the comments section, one person noted the Herald's money quote which I remember from the time.

“Postings on the Miami-based Babalú Blog showed Target’s removal of the CD case went a long way toward getting those customers back.
”YAAAAAAYYYYY!!! I’m so happy we can shop at Target again!” one posting said. “Especially because they did the right thing. Go us!”  

Why Reuters restored the link after kind of blowing me off earlier is kind of a mystery to me, but I am glad they did. Context matters, and Reuters had the proof that Target has gone downhill at its top corporate levels. At least Reuters listens to their customers and continues to value their credibility, quite unlike Target.

Image: Logo, via Wikimedia Commons // public domain

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