Coffee Or News

Life is about choices. We are in constant role conflict and are faced with making difficult and sometimes distasteful choices. Do you attend your child’s function or stay late at the office? Worse yet, do you skip the performance to go into work at the second job you desperately need to pay the bills?  My question today is what is more important: Where you get your coffee or where you get your news? Let’s explore.

Sunday morning’s papers told us of an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks where two black men were arrested. At best, this was an overreaction on the part of that store’s management and the Philadelphia police. At worse, it was an outright case of racial discrimination. In any event it certainly should not have occurred.

Starbucks immediately reacted (perhaps “coerced” by the deluge of negative publicity). CEO Kevin Johnson flew to Philadelphia to personally meet with the two men and apologize on behalf of the company. He also made the decision to close some 8,000 company owned stores for part of the day on May 29th for staff sensitivity training. No revenue and significant cost in an effort to proactively avoid repeat incidents.

We can debate the exact nature of the incident in question and without intimate knowledge of the store, history and exact circumstances it is impossible to accurately distribute the blame. However we can all agree that avoiding an incident like this in the future is in everyone’s best interest.

You can agree or disagree with the exact action Starbucks is taking but at least they addressed the problem, admitted culpability and are spending significant money to try and prevent it from ever happening again.

Now let’s turn to the alleged journalism at Fox News. You can make an argument for Fox news being faux news (and I’d agree) but they both portray themselves and want to be recognized as a legitimate media outlet.

On Monday afternoon their number one rated star, Sean Hannity, was revealed to be Michael Cohen’s mystery client. To date Hannity’s public excuses have been both contradictory and difficult to believe. I know the difference between straight journalism and opinion. I am on the opinion side. I feel I am still obligated to use real, not alternate facts (a/k/a lies). I also disclose when I have a personal relationship with the story or a key player in it. (For example any of my regular readers know I serve on the Board of an organization that combats domestic violence.) During several on air interviews with Cohen, Hannity never disclosed that he had retained Cohen’s professional services.

How did Fox react to Monday’s courtroom revelations which Hannity asked lawyers to keep from becoming public? Fox executives were originally blindsided which means Hannity hid the relationship from his employers as well as his audience. Their action was to call their golden boy Sean in and have a chat during which Hannity told them that he didn’t do anything wrong. They accepted Hannity’s self-review and issued a statement to that effect.

If Fox News operated by the same standards as Starbucks their CEO Rupert Murdoch would have led off Hannity’s Monday night show with an apology to Sean’s viewers. He would have announced that Sean had either been suspended or terminated. He also would have announced that the network was shutting down for a few hours in the near future for companywide ethics training so an incident like that would never happen again.

You have to ask yourself: What is more important? Where I get my news or where I get my coffee?

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Full Disclosure: I am a Starbucks fan and have frequented their stores since the 1990’s. I’m also a tea not coffee drinker.