CNN Money

So, you thought the bizarre crisis at Newsweek was complicated enough already?

So, you thought the bizarre crisis at Newsweek was complicated enough already?

If you are a long-time reader of weekly news magazines (many old people like me will raise their hands), then it is has been bizarre trying to follow the bizarre reports coming out of the Newsweek newsroom.

We are, of course, talking about news reports ABOUT Newsweek, not reports BY Newsweek about others. Then again, there have also been headlines about Newsweek reports about events at Newsweek, and the fallout from all of the above. This New York Post headline (of course) captures the mood: " 'Bats–t crazy’ Newsweek staff meeting quickly goes off the rails."

Confused? To top it all off -- from a GetReligion perspective -- there are several very complicated religion angles (think arguments about the end of the world and a possible messiah) buried in the details here. Reporters need to be careful.

First, what the heckfire is going on? Let's walk into a CNN Money report for a few basics:

Employees at Newsweek have been told that editor-in-chief Bob Roe and executive editor Ken Li have been fired, sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
A reporter, Celeste Katz, who had written articles about financial issues at the magazine as well as an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's office into its parent company, Newsweek Media Group, was also let go, the sources said.
Katz declined to comment to CNN but tweeted on Monday afternoon, "My warmest thanks to the brave Newsweek editors and colleagues who supported and shared in my work -- especially our recent, difficult stories about the magazine itself -- before my dismissal today. I'll sleep well tonight... and I'm looking for a job!"

OK, it helps to know that, earlier, co-owner and Newsweek Media Group chair Etienne Uzac resigned, along with his wife, company finance director Marion Kim. Oh, and in January the Manhattan District Attorney's office raided Newsweek offices -- exiting with several computer servers. Then there was the BuzzFeed report about pre-Newsweek allegations about sexual abuse by chief content manager Dayan Candappa.

I think that's enough context. So now, the religion angles.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Will Trump's America lead to a legal bloodbath for gays? CNN all but predicts it will

Will Trump's America lead to a legal bloodbath for gays? CNN all but predicts it will

I am not sure why CNN’s Money page recently offered a piece on gay clergy, but in this era of media belt-tightening one is glad for religion news anywhere one can get it. Still a piece titled “LGBTQ clergy tackle tough issues ahead of Trump presidency” does raise the question of why it’s not in the Belief section.

Maybe it’s because the network’s “race and inequality” correspondent is covering the issue. I sure wish CNN had put a religion specialist on the story , as the assumptions in this piece make it obvious this reporter knows little about this subject.

This news feature begins as follows:

Transgender rights. Same-sex marriage. Federal protections against discrimination.
In the wake of Donald Trump's election, some of the hard won rights and protections that the LGBTQ community have gained in recent years are once again in the national spotlight.
President-elect Trump has appointed several members to top government posts that have supported so-called religious freedom laws and opposed same-sex marriage, leaving many in the LGBTQ community concerned that their civil rights hang in the balance.

Now Trump has said post-election that he’s “fine” with the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling on gay marriage, but this reporter notes that Trump could nominate a justice who will help overturn the ruling.

The remote chance of the court, with only one change in personnel, taking that action is not brought up in the piece. The story continues:

"Rather than getting a respite we've got almost an overload of emotion because things are heating up," said Joshua Lesser, a gay rabbi in Atlanta. Rabbi Lesser is one of three openly gay clergy members CNN interviewed who say they are not only worried about their own rights, but they've been busy counseling a number of parishioners about a wide range of issues since Trump was elected.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

The seat of the matter: Most media updates on Target store controversy miss the obvious

The seat of the matter: Most media updates on Target store controversy miss the obvious

The Target store chain, rocked for months by controversy over its bathroom policy, finally threw in the towel and said it would spend $20 million to build single restrooms for all its stores. Coverage of the announcement, though, was less complete, much of it bypassing the moral/religious cause of the national media storm.

The fracas began this year after Target announced that anyone could use its restrooms based the gender he/she identified with. "Everyone -- every team member, every guest, and every community -- deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally," the statement said.

The announcement followed North Carolina's passage of a law requiring everyone to use the public restroom of his/her biological sex. Transgendered people, their LGBT allies and social liberals cried foul.
 
Perhaps Target saw a PR opportunity, but it backfired, drawing boycott demands via social media and pickets in front of some stores. For GetReligion readers, the key is that most of the opposition was coming from religious and cultural conservatives. We will come back to that.

This week, the chain confessed that earnings were down -- and, just coincidentally, it was adding the single restrooms.

Now you're up to speed. How have mainstream media been doing?  Not too well, in the case of America's largest newspaper chain. 

USA Today leads with the numbers -- adjusted earnings per share, same-store sales change and such -- then finally gets to the objections in the eighth paragraph:

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Red Cup Diaries: Mainstream media cover Starbucks' Christmas brew-haha

Red Cup Diaries: Mainstream media cover Starbucks' Christmas brew-haha

So this Christian guy online aims a camera at his face and says that coffee cups show Starbucks "hates Jesus."

Can you say click-bait? There go those religious crazies again. Just the kind of story that mainstream media like to pounce on, eh?

Except, to my surprise, most didn’t this time. Instead, they just covered it, pro and con, and looked for facts.

Our story starts with Joshua Feuerstein, a former evangelical pastor based in Arizona. Feuerstein saw Starbucks' new cups for the Christmas season -- plain red with the company's green mermaid trademark -- and freaked.

"Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand-new cups?" the fast-talking minister says in a video.  He boasted that he entered one of their coffee shops and told a barista his name was "Merry Christmas," forcing the worker to write the phrase on his cup.

He chortles:

So guess, what, Starbucks? I tricked you into putting "Merry Christmas" on your cup. And I'm challenging all great Americans and Christians around this great nation: Go into Starbucks and take your own coffee selfie. And then I challenge you to not only share this video so that the word gets out, but let's start start a movement, and let's call it, I dunno, "#MerryChristmasStarbucks," and I know that by sharing this video, and getting other Christians to do it, well …

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Food for thought: Diners prefer Chick-fil-A over the competition, or gay rights protesters

Food for thought: Diners prefer Chick-fil-A over the competition, or gay rights protesters

Boycotts typically fail. CNN reconfirmed that maxim this week with the news that Chick-fil-A -- hit hard with gay-rights protests a few years ago -- ranked first in customer satisfaction among fast-food restaurants.

"Not everyone likes Chick-fil-A's politics, but they sure seem to like the food," CNN Money says, in its article on the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report 2015.

The CNN Money article didn't reheat those issues, focusing instead on the numbers. It said the once-embattled chain drew an 86 rating, higher than 17 other companies -- including well-known brands like Panera Bread, Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts.

The story adds:

The chicken restaurant was the subject of controversy and protests a few years ago after its CEO made remarks that offended the LGBT community.
But that hasn't stopped fans from flocking to its restaurants, and giving it high marks for customer experience.
"It is laser focused on a particular product," said Forrest Morgeson, director of research at ACSI. "It focuses on one thing and does it exceptionally well ... and that is chicken sandwiches."
This is Chick-fil-A's debut on the list and its score is the highest ever achieved in the category.

The restaurant chain was targeted in 2012 by gay protestors who took umbrage at CEO Dan Cathy's quotes about traditional families and biblical values: "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Hey CNN: Ghosts in the ties that bind Cyprus and Russia

So I’m sitting in a restaurant eating my lunch and, up on the wall, the large-screen television is tuned to CNN, where a lengthy report is unfolding about a European Union plan attempt to raise the corporate tax rates on Cyprus, a land in which wealthy Russians have funneled billions into tax shelters.

Please respect our Commenting Policy