Letter to the Editor



I was pretty shocked after reading your article “RED CUP REBELLION IN FULL SWING: OVER 100 UNIONIZED STARBUCKS LOCATIONS ARE ON STRIKE”, Dateline: Philadelphia from your 11/19 edition.  I have called you out before for publishing opinion in the guise of news, but this goes far beyond that.  It is nothing short  of full throated propaganda.  I will hazard a guess that the Pampa News does not support a Philadelphia correspondent, but rather you were fed a union “news release” and printed it without any critical thought or editorial oversight.  This piece falls short of any journalistic standard.

So that you know my biases, I would never be a Starbucks client because I don’t think the product merits the price.  This is not a fact; it is my opinion.  Further, I am no fan of large corporations and I am pretty ambivalent with regards to private sector unions.  I really have no dog in the fight.

To quote your article: “Despite being the face of the company, Starbucks partners are underpaid, forced to run understaffed stores, and don’t have consistent schedules they can rely on”.  This is a news article?  Pair that “statement of fact” with a lengthy quote from a worker at the first unionized Starbucks store moves this from an opinion piece to propaganda.  No quotes were offered from management.  You follow up in the article with the following: “Starbucks’ continuous and lawless union busting has cast doubt on the future of the American labor movement.  If Starbucks can break the law to stamp out their workers’ unionization efforts, they could be writing the playbook for countless other companies to follow.”  That is pretty bold of the Pampa News to state as fact that Starbucks is breaking the law.

I understand that the staff at the Pampa News is limited and using ready-made content is tempting.  I am sure there is plenty of pressure on a small town print newspaper, and survival is not to be taken for granted.  However, as a subscriber I am asking that you take your editorial responsibilities seriously and reject propaganda, even if it is content provided for free, label opinion as such, and restore the Pampa News to a higher journalistic standard.  Quantity does not make up for quality.

Jerry Russell