UPDATE: Pepsi responds
Yesterday, Popular Information initially reported that Pepsi was one of several sponsors of the 2022 Texas Republican Party convention. The convention produced a party platform that described homosexuality as "abnormal," called Biden's election "illegitimate," and advocated the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Popular Information's report was based on the following information:
1. Official signage in the convention hall listed Pepsi as a sponsor.
2. Pepsi had donated $15,000 to the Texas Republican Party in August 2021, according to records from the Texas Ethics Commission.
3. Popular Information contacted a spokesperson for Pepsi prior to publication and did not receive a response.
After the newsletter was published on Tuesday morning, Pepsi contacted Popular Information. The company said any "reports you might have seen on social media" that Pepsi sponsored the 2022 Texas Republican Party convention are "fake news."
Asked why Pepsi's name appeared on a list of sponsors displayed in the convention hall, the company said it believed the photo of the sign published by Popular Information "has been altered to include our name." When Popular Infomation explained that it had multiple photos of the sign taken from different angles, Pepsi changed its story. The company then claimed that either all the photos were altered or Pepsi's name was "included erroneously."
Pepsi did not comment on its $15,000 donation to the Texas Republican Party or whether it would support the Texas Republican Party in the future. Popular Information contacted numerous officials at the Texas Republican Party — via phone, text, and email — about why Pepsi was listed as a sponsor. None of those inquiries were returned.
Popular Information is committed to delivering you the truth. But that doesn't mean that we never make mistakes. Although we believe yesterday's piece was grounded in solid reporting, it turned out to be incomplete and potentially misleading. That's why we are coming back to you today with the rest of the story.
Accountability journalism also means holding ourselves accountable.
The words “fake news” are a tell. In my experience the only people who use it unironically are deep in the bubble.
Pepsi should make a clear public denunciation of the proposed Texas Republican platform and publicly insist that any signage or association with the Texas Republican Party is not true. They should also institute legal proceedings if it is discovered that they were improperly used to add legitimacy to the racist hateful Republican platform. Then I’ll gladly have a Pepsi in their honor.