Starbucks Burned by Media Criticism of Calories and Caffeine

Whether you are a Starbucks patron or not, no doubt you've heard that the Seattle-based coffee chain plans to close 600 "underperforming" stores and cut about seven percent of its workforce.

Job loss is certainly not something to cheer about, yet Reuters found a unique story to tell on July 6, 2008. No, this wasn't the sad tale of roughly 12,000 soon-to-be unemployed baristas. It was a morbid report about coffee snobs who take "grim delight in Starbucks woes."

Reuters' unbalanced report quoted eight critics of the global coffee seller, including those who are "happy" about the store closures.

"I'm so happy. I'm so not a Starbucks person,' said Melinda Vegliotti, sipping iced coffee at the Irving Farm Coffee House in New York. 'I believe in supporting small businesses. Starbucks, bye-bye,'" she told Reuters.

Only one "defender" of Starbucks was included in that story, and the meager praise he offered was that it is "convenient."

The Reuters story was not the first time the media served up bias against the company - or its caffeinated product. Starbucks has been attacked in obesity stories (including the May 23, 2008 "Nightline") for its products' calories and portrayed as a drug dealer.

Coffee has been hyped by the media as a threat to children and teens, and as a contributing factor of bad hair days, poor aging, migraines and increased risk of miscarriages. Today the MRC's Business & Media Institute exposed the media's shots against the caffeinated beverage.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.