Eastside Rev. Ken Hutcherson has announced he is launching a national boycott of several companies (including Microsoft, Boeing, Corbis, and RealNetworks) that support Washington’s gay civil rights bill. Sounds like big news, right? Well, last week, after the Associated Press took Rev. Hutcherson’s word for it and told its millions of readers that this boycott was coming, I started looking for evidence that this “national boycott” actually exists.
I found none. And my blog posts about my fruitless search have been collected into a story, here.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media is starting to sound more skeptical about Rev. Hutcherson’s threats (and Goldy over at horsesass.org says it’s about time). On Saturday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that the boycott it told readers was coming had not, in fact, arrived.
Hutcherson did not announce a boycott of Microsoft and other businesses that supported gay rights legislation. In a later interview with the Seattle P-I, he said he is planning a boycott but is not ready to reveal details.
“We’re going to make it rough (on Microsoft) by having these policies,” he said.
And The New York Times, also on Saturday, cast Rev. Hutcherson’s threat as merely a hypothetical:
This week, the Rev. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of the evangelical Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Wash., raised the possibility of boycotts of companies like Microsoft, Nike and Boeing for their support of legislation in Washington State prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and insurance on the basis of sexual orientation.
Rev. Hutcherson still claims he has an unspecified plan, and the required clout, to “make it rough” on Microsoft and other companies that support gay civil rights. But so far it seems all he has is a lot of reporters’ phone numbers and a belief that bluster and exaggeration can substitute for actual clout. It’s a game that works only as long as the media is willing to help him maintain the illusion.