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I expect it's a slight more meta metric, I doubt they care about the court of public opinion beyond its relevance to company profit.

Sure, but the medium term relevance to company profit isn't a metric you meaningfully have until it's too late to do anything about. You can actually react to the court of public opinion, and reacting to that will pretty much give you a level of CYA as a decision maker, so there's not really a down side on that end.

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