A Controversy That Wasn’t Really There?
Americans are pretty sick and tired of the annual #BoycottStarbucks campaigns conservatives start every year around this time when their favorite targetÂ â€“ StarbucksÂ â€“ reveals its new Holiday coffee cups. We all remember the insane attacks in 2015 from former pastor Joshua Feuerstein, who recorded a viral video literally saying Starbucks “hates Jesus” because the international coffee purveyor produced a solid red cup without Christmas decorations.
For better or worse that was a national controversyÂ â€“ and a national conversationÂ â€“ that went on for weeks.
“People Are Saying Starbucksâ€™ New Holiday Cup Is Totally Gay” is an article Buzzfeed business reporterÂ Venessa WongÂ wrote that was published one week ago Wednesday. It was odd because the only people she mentioned in her article were a woman on Twitter with 737 followers who tweeted about the cups two weeks before Wong published her piece. Wong also cited a man on Twitter with 66 followers, another man with 18 followers, another woman with 103 follows, and Wong’s own “gay BuzzFeed colleague” as her sources.
Those are the people who were saying Starbucks’ new Holiday cup is “totally gay,” to quote Wong.
Less than an hour after Buzzfeed published their article Business Insider reported “BuzzFeed posted a bizarre theory that Starbucks’ holiday cups ‘might have a gay agenda’.” Apparently the original Buzzfeed title, according to Business Insider, was: “Is Starbucks’ New Holiday Cup Totally Gay?”
The theme of Wong’s story is, “the ordinary Starbucks customer probably didn’t realize the cup might have a gay agenda,” but “some keen observers speculated on Twitter that the two hands on the upper edge of the cup belong to a same-sex couple, holding hands like in the Starbucks’ holiday cup video.”
NCRM reported on that video weeks ago â€“Â it does include a same-sex couple, about to kiss.
Other media outlets quickly picked up the Buzzfeed report. A partial timeline, via a chronological sort of Google News:
“People Say Starbucks’ New Holiday Cups Have a ‘Gay Agenda'” (Grub Street)
“The Starbucks Holiday Cup Apparently Has A Gay Agenda And, Thank God, Everyone Is Chill About It (UpRoxx)
“Starbucks holiday cup causes social media buzz over mystery hands” (Fox News)
“Beware The Starbucks Holiday Cups’ Secret Gay Agenda!” (NewNowNext)
“Starbucks under fire over holiday cups that ‘feature same-sex couples’ hands” (The Independent)
“Is there a secret gay agenda on Starbucks’ Christmas cups?” (Pink News)
“People Are Arguing Over Whether Starbucks’ Holiday Cup Is ‘Gay'” (The Daily Caller)
“Starbucks’ Holiday Cups Spark Debate Over The Company’s Alleged ‘Gay Agenda’!” (PerezHilton)
“Starbucks cups with â€˜gay agendaâ€™ brew up controversy, boycott hashtag” (NY Daily News)
“Conservatives Attack Starbucks Holiday Cup’s ‘Gay Agenda'” (Advocate)
“Starbucks Holiday Cups Face Controversy For Being LGBTQ Friendly” (Teen Vogue)
There are more but you get the picture.
Note how the articles start with, basically, “Starbucks’ Christmas cups have a gay agenda!” and gradually move to “There’s a gay agenda controversy over Starbucks cups,” and end up, essentially, “People are boycotting Starbucks for their gay agenda coffee cups.”
Literally, Buzzfeed found a few people who thought maybe the hands on the Starbucks cup might be two women, and went with it as news. And the response to that thinly-sourced article morphed into this Holiday season’s Starbucks controversy.
Business Insider’s Kate Taylor just published an opinion piece in what is essentially a follow up to their first report that called Buzzfeed’s Starbucks story “bizarre.” They beat us to publication (this article was started last week) but correctly report: “BuzzFeed News and other publications promoted and created the theory based on little evidence.”
BuzzFeed NewsÂ published an article saying the cups could be “totally gay” based on a handful of tweets and an inclusive ad campaign. This article was aggregated by several other news publications, which created enough of a narrative that backlash finallyÂ emerged.
However, there was no outrage until it was manufactured by the media.
Now, to be clear, NCRM occasionally will use people’s responses on Twitter to help readers see what’s happening in real time, or what experts are saying about an important story. Last Thursday night, for example, when President Trump went after Senator Franken, despite numerous allegations against Trump by at least 16 women, we focused our story on the anger and outrage people were feeling on social media, and how they were sharing quotes from his “Access Hollywood” tape because that was news that was happening. We didn’t look for a controversy that wasn’t there and we didn’t try to create one.
Buzzfeed does some excellent reporting. This was not excellent reporting.Â
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‘Sexy’: Comer Obtains Unredacted Emails to VP Biden Revealing Women ‘Privately Mused’ They Found Him Attractive
Amid the chaos of what top Democrats are calling the GOP House’s “civil war,” infighting that threatens to shut down the federal government in nine days, Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer has been obtaining some of then-Vice President Joe Biden‘s emails from the National Archives.
Politico reveals Chairman Comer has been able to obtain several unreacted emails, including one which relayed a tidbit of hearsay, or, “private musings,” from 2009, after an overseas trip Biden took: “multiple” women said they found the Vice President “sexy.”
The emails “include schedules with ordinary family get-togethers,” Politico adds. “One shows Biden had lunch with Hunter Biden’s then-15-year-old daughters, Maisy and Finnegan. Another reveals that the Ukrainians were praising his now-deceased brother, Beau. And then there are the private musings of multiple Georgian women saying they found Joe Biden ‘sexy’ during a 2009 trip that also included a stop in Ukraine.”
“’Must-read email below,’ read an email forwarded by Biden’s then-national security adviser Tony Blinken to Joe Biden and his sons, Hunter and Beau. The email’s subject line: ‘Biden as new Georgian sex symbol.'”
Other emails from the National Archives’ trove include a “June 14, 2016 schedule card shows Biden was to meet with the prime minister of Ukraine. The newly unredacted portions show he was also scheduled to work out with his personal trainer, and to dine with Hunter’s then-15-year-old daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, in the vice president’s office.”
Politico, noting that “Republicans have yet to turn up direct evidence that Joe Biden benefited personally or that he took any official action as a result of those [Hunter Biden’s] connections, also reveals a “May, 27, 2016 schedule card includes a call with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Hunter Biden was copied on the day’s schedule. It’s already been reported that Biden was also due to attend the one-year anniversary of the passing of his son, Beau, back home in Delaware.”
“Comer had been pointing to this scheduling item, since it was also emailed to then-Vice President Biden under a pseudonym email address. Comer even said the vice president was sending a secret message to his son that he was about to fire the prosecutor. As recently as last week, Comer included that email on a list of ‘evidence’ of Joe Biden’s ‘involvement in his family’s influence peddling schemes.'”
Politico also notes that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy “and his allies insisted that opening a formal impeachment inquiry would empower them to dig deeper. Yet the emails are another example of the House GOP failing to turn up evidence they’ve assured the public exists and that will implicate Biden in some form of corruption that rises to an impeachable offense.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
Nine days before an increasingly-likely shutdown of the federal government of the United States, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has effectively adjourned the House for the rest of the week, with GOP leadership telling members they may go home and come back next week, after a procedural vote to fund the Dept. of Defense failed for the second time this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports, “Note that the House has not officially dismissed everyone.. but everyone expects they are done for the week. Why? They House lacks the VOTES TO ADJOURN.”
He later added that “Things are very fluid,” and “there could be votes TOMORROW or this weekend still in the house. This could be a problem if some members already got on flights.”
Fox News online is reporting, “House abruptly cancels votes for the week without spending deal after series of defeats for GOP leaders,” and notes members are not expected back until Tuesday.
McCarthy this week has repeatedly denigrated and attacked the extremist members of the House Republican conference on camera to reporters, and Thursday was no different, saying, “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) blasted House Republicans upon hearing the House was about to adjourn for the week.
“What you need to understand is that chaos is the point for a big chunk of House Republicans. They came to congress to BURN THE GOVERNMENT TO THE GROUND,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote. “Their goal is a shutdown.”
The sentiment is being echoed by political experts, but many of those are placing the blame on Speaker McCarthy.
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro Thursday afternoon wrote: “Reminder: Kevin McCarthy could put a clean bill to fund the government on the floor right now and it would pass easily. Instead, he’s sending members home for the weekend with 9 days until a shutdown—all because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Evidence that the far-right extremist House Republicans, led by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are effectively in control comes via Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman:
At 1:13 PM ET Sherman posted that Rep. Gaetz had “just emerged from” Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite. “Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending. He mentioned: State-Foreign Ops, Agriculture, Energy and Water.”
Sherman noted that Gaetz “said again there are not enough votes” for a continuing resolution, legislation to keep the government open temporarily, possibly 30 days past the September 30 deadline.
“Just to review, the plan right now is to begin passing 11 appropriations bills with relatively open rules allowing for amendments between next tues (possibly wed) and Sunday.”
At 2:40 PM, Sherman added, “This is now the strategy. They’re going to bring up individual approps [appropriations] bills next week, per lawmakers who just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy.”
Others were less pleased.
Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen wrote: “truly insane. Mccarthy surrendered to Gaetz.”
Even before McCarthy adjourned the House for the rest of the week, political experts had warned the volatile situation was worse than it may have appeared.
Sherman, late Thursday morning, issued this warning on social media after the failed Defense Dept. vote: “Just to put this in context, republicans cannot even agree to debate the pentagon spending bill. This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin mccarthys House Republicans are in a state of crisis.”
Josh Chafetz, Georgetown Law professor of law and politics, responded to Thursday’s failed Defense Dept. procedural vote, writing: “if you can’t pass the procedural stuff you don’t have a working majority.”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) is calling the state of the GOP House a “total breakdown.”
“I started working in the House nearly 11 years ago, I’ve seen some crazy days and some chaotic votes but never seen anything like what is happening with this majority. Just a total breakdown,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Professor and American historian Aaron Astor on Thursday asked, “Does the GOP actually have a working majority in the House?”
Veteran journalist John Harwood quickly replied, “clearly not.”
‘Just Want to Burn the Whole Place Down’: McCarthy Rails Against House Republicans as GOP Conference Explodes in Chaos
Speaker Kevin McCarthy unleashed his anger against his own House Republican conference Thursday as chaos erupted after yet another procedural vote on a defense spending bill failed and the clock ticks closer to a GOP-caused shutdown of the federal government.
McCarthy “failed a crucial test Thursday of his ability to unite his fractured Republican caucus as he tries to rally support to pass a spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month,” CNBC adds.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate, and then you got all the amendments and if you don’t like the bill,” McCarthy admitted to reporters in what has increasingly become opportunities for him to trash the most far-right Republicans in the House.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” he lamented. “It doesn’t work.”
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
— After House Republicans once again failed to pass a basic procedural rule to fund the Pentagon, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hits some members of his own conference pic.twitter.com/Qt4AR71jP3
— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2023
“This is really unheard of,” CNBC’s Emily Wilkins reported. “I mean just a rule going down as a procedural thing, that’s pretty rare as is, and for it to happen twice in one week. Last night Republicans came ut of their all hands on deck Republican meeting. A number of them sounded optimistic about moving forward.”
Thursday failed procedural vote “really did catch Speaker McCarthy by surprise,” Wilkins added.
“He said he did not realize there were not going to be the votes to move forward on this.”
The House failed to pass a procedural rules vote today, @emrwilkins
reports. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “That doesn’t work.” https://t.co/1xf6Y33riV pic.twitter.com/kK31lrHOyr
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 21, 2023
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