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Starbucks paid money to display ads on white supremacist websites: Time to take down all Starbucks coffee shops?

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(NaturalNews) Using standards of "fairness," "tolerance" and "decency" imposed on the country recently via the PC Speech Police, it is time Americans took action to stop the hate being perpetuated by retail coffee giant Starbucks.

Why? Because Starbucks might be racist.

As reported by USA Today, Republican presidential contenders were not the only ones who were embarrassed recently after the media reported some of them having received donations from the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist organization that may have inspired the accused (and self-admitted) Charleston, S.C., killer, Dylann Roof.

The paper noted that a statement by the group's president, Earl Holt, about his donations to a number of Republican candidates appeared on an affiliated racist web-based magazine called American Renaissance [view the magazine's front page here]. In addition, advertising that you would likely see on any mainstream web publication appeared next to it [that story is here].

As USA Today further reported:

It is a sign that the anything-goes world of political fundraising has a lot in common with the anything-goes world of advertising networks, where a few bad decisions can put the display advertising of America's most storied brands right next to an article extolling white separatism.

Should persons and companies be punished for an unintended association?

You may not know but most of the Web's advertising is not purchased by companies to appear on specific websites but, rather, specific kinds of consumers. Ads appear on sites where readers in the targeted demographic might click on them. So, websites of all kinds offering a plethora of products and services sign up with ad networks run by media corporations like Google, and the ad networks then sell the advertising. Networks pay websites when readers see the ads.

In recent days advertising distributed via the Taboola network, which has about $200 million in annual revenue, was seen on the AMRen web site; so, too, were ads distributed by the Newsmax Feed Network, a smaller company. Spokesmen for both companies told USA Today they were not aware their ads were on the American Renaissance web site.

"We certainly do not identify with the ideals posed by this particular publisher, and we were not explicitly aware of them when they signed up for our service," said Taboola spokeswoman Tammy Goodman, in an email to USA Today. "We have thousands of different sites on our network, and while we do our best to keep content that violates our guidelines off our network, we do occasionally miss some from time to time."

When the paper spoke to Newsmax spokesman Anthony Rizzo, he said "we discovered this on our own this morning." He added, "We're re-evaluating all our feed networks and making sure our feeds are not promoting racist sites." Newsmax has also removed its ads from the AMRen pages.

However, the paper further noted in online editions:

But the advertising found on the site of the CCC itself, conservative-headlines.com, was even more startling. American Express, Starbucks, Cadillac, Neiman Marcus, Carter's, OshKosh B'gosh, Ray-Ban, Microsoft and Jeep ads appeared across the page from the racist Council of Conservative Citizens' red, white and blue logo."

We need to calm down and evaluate what we're actually seeing, hearing

Shouldn't these companies suffer political, cultural and societal fallout as well?

No, of course not. As explained in the ad models above, it is simply not possible for advertisers to know, in every case, who is signing up to carry their products and services, based on the most popular current online ad models. That said, when companies have discovered some of their ads are appearing on pages featuring unsavory, improper, or bigoted points of view, they have removed their ad services, and quickly.

Yet, some symbols - and some people - nevertheless get lumped in with generalized assumptions and ideals. They are stereotyped simply for their appearance or association, and that is just un-American.

Our country is a diverse place, and getting more so by the year. The one thing that will tear it apart is intolerance for anyone, any ideal or any point of view that is different from those we hold ourselves.

Our founders never expected all of us to agree on everything, but they did understand that in a healthy society, there has to be a free exchange opinions and points of view, without malice and without the expectation persons will be ostracized for voicing them.

That doesn't mean we should tolerate genuine racism and bigotry. But it does mean we should not assume that is what we're hearing and seeing when that may not actually be the case.





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