It's that time of year, again. I know that I keep saying that, but there's no way around it.
It's time for the annual alleged cursing of the Starbucks Holiday cup design.
Once again, several major branches of elite media -- including the all-important New York Times -- are dancing with delight to know that some knuckle-dragging evangelicals are upset with some element of this iconic symbol in the lives of urban consumers of over-priced coffee.
This year, we are talking about a culture wars topic, as well as a new round in the Christmas Wars. Now, in the following Times passage, pay close attention to the sourcing on information about this alleged evangelical cyber-lynch mob. I will then turn things over to M.Z. "GetReligionista Emerita" Hemingway for her Federalist critique of this mess.
The latest controversy has focused ... on a pair of gender-neutral hands holding each other on the side of the cup itself.
Those linked hands came to wider public attention after BuzzFeed published an article about them on Wednesday. It suggested the cup was “totally gay.”
“While people who follow both Starbucks holiday cup news and L.G.B.T. issues celebrated the video, the ordinary Starbucks customer probably didn’t realize the cup might have a gay agenda,” BuzzFeed said.
Thus saith BuzzFeed. Then:
After that, it was off to the races.
Fox News picked up the story of what it called the “androgynous” cartoon hands, referring to Bible-quoting critics of Starbucks and criticizing BuzzFeed, which it said had “asserted the hypothesis is fact.”
Thus saith Fox News, one of our culture's most popular arenas for all things Christmas Wars.
The conservative site The Blaze also waded in, saying Starbucks had launched a “gay agenda campaign.”
Fox said it asked Starbucks about the cartoons but the company “neither confirms nor denies the allegations,” by which it presumably meant the promotion of lesbianism.
Saith The Blaze, because Fox News had already saith it, or whatever, yada, yada.
So, wait a minute.
Who is actually upset about this? What is the evidence that there is a mob of people with digital torches who are ready to storm the Starbucks castle?
Take it away, M.Z., with her piece looking at the sourcing behind the Gray Lady's tweets on this mess, which in some ways is a repeat performance of an earlier mess:
... The story itself did precisely nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to substantiate the tweets. The article was headlined “Starbucks Is Criticized for Its Holiday Cups. Yes, Again.” The story does not support this headline.
Two years ago we were subjected to claims that Christians and conservatives were completely offended by the 2015 Starbucks Christmas cup. That was so false that it led me to write a piece headlined, “Nobody Is Actually Upset About The Starbucks Cup. Stop Saying Otherwise.”
But at least there was some tiny smidgen of evidence of someone on planet earth being offended by it -- namely a Breitbart writer who wrote a tongue-in-cheek jeremiad against the cup and a Christian shock jock-type guy who makes viral videos doing his thing against the cup.
This year, the entirety of the evidence for this New York Times article appears to be -- and I’m completely serious -- a single tweet by someone with 16 followers as of press time. And that tweet isn’t even mentioned in the Times‘ article! It is included in articles the Times links to.
So here is the obvious question: How many evangelicals does it take to make a cyber-mob worthy of Times coverage? A dozen? One with a tiny Twitter flock?
Here is the real journalism question: Was someone at BuzzFeed actually assigned the task of finding an evangelical or three who was upset about the Starbuck's cup?
Read the whole 2017 M.Z. piece. Honestly, she needs to write a book on this topic.