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The Twinkie wars: ideological battles waged online

Posting in Technology

Last week, baker Hostess Brands announced that it would ask a federal bankruptcy court for permission to begin liquidating its assets. The Twinkie's demise has partisans pointing fingers at their favorite marks: either Wall Street or union bosses.

A battle of words is being waged online. Liberal bloggers are blaming venture capitalists and inept management - the company has loaded itself up with nearly a billion dollars in debt. Its CEO also recently received a massive 300 percent pay increase while workers were asked to make concessions. Conservative bloggers cite Hostess as ‘yet another' incident of unions supposedly committing hari kari by striking. Neither side holds providence on the truth, but each has a viral campaign.

The AFL-CIO posted a blog entry saying, "The truth is that the Bain-style vulture capitalists invested in Hostess to profit not by making quality products, but by bleeding the company of every dollar before discarding it." It published this info graphic outlining Hostess's debt attributed to strategic management blunders:

Image credit: AFL-CIO

A Chamber of Commerce blog post targets the union saying, "Even a company that produces an American icon cannot do so by continuing to rack up losses. Hostess stated plainly that they ‘do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.' They needed "wage, benefit and work rule concessions," but a union representing only 30% of the company's workforce refused to cede any ground." Here's its contribution to the zeitgeist:

Image credit: Chamber of Commerce

It would be surprising if competitors fail to snatch up Hostess's iconic brands -Twinkie and Wonder Bread - at a discount. Hopefully they will outlast the infographics (or the events of "Zombieland").

(Image credit: No Hope for the Human Race)

— By on November 18, 2012, 10:55 AM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure