Yes, Virginia, Religion News Service wrote a snarky "news" item quoting three anonymous Twitter users.
The subject of the report: The alleged controversy over holiday cups at Starbucks:
The wire service's lede:
(RNS) Yes, Virginia, there are people brandishing pitchforks because the new Starbucks cup is green and doesn’t have a snowflake.
On Tuesday (Nov. 1), the much-loved and much-derided coffee chain rolled out a cup with a white circle on a green background covered with an army of little cartoon faces drawn with a single line by artist Shogo Ota.
For some customers, this was the first salvo in what they see as the company’s annual “War on Christmas.”
“Starbucks is trying to take Jesus out of Christmas with the new cup,” someone named Jazmine H wrote on Twitter.
Wowza! If Jazmine H is upset, this must be a legitimate national news story!
And there are even reports that Starbucks has unveiled new Satanic holiday cups:
Over at RNS, national reporter Emily Miller welcomed the latest news on Starbucks cups:
However, other Godbeat pros were less enthusiastic.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, a former GetReligionista who is now a national religion writer for the Washington Post, questioned whether the cup controversy is "really a thing":
But Amy Sullivan, senior editor of Yahoo News, declared that it's not a thing:
My advice — which, combined with $5 or $6, will buy you an overpriced latte in a green cup at Starbucks — is that RNS and other media not be in such a hurry to jump on War on Christmas news that really isn't, you know, news.
Perhaps the minimum threshold could be that the main source quoted be someone who (1) exists outside of Twitter and (2) has an actual last name and other biographical information to go after the comma beside her name.
Surely the weeks before Christmas will generate some real holiday controversy without the news media needing to create it.