Starbucks sneaking poop into drinks? Nope. But Google’s cashing in on fake-news website ads

If you believe website Freedom Daily, Starbucks is surreptitiously adding human feces to some of its drinks.

“HUGE U.S. Biz Has Been Sneaking Feces Into Their Products For Months — Here’s Disgusting Reason Why,” says the headline for a Nov. 1 story about Starbucks on the pro-Trump, anti-Muslim site.

And if you believe Google, it is working hard to prevent its advertisements from appearing on fake-news websites. Its ads on Freedom Daily suggest it’s not doing such a great job, in spite of testimony to Congress this week by a Google lawyer  who said the firm had “taken steps” to keep its ads off websites that misrepresent themselves. An advocacy group said it told Google Nov. 2 about its ads on Freedom Daily, but as of mid-day Nov. 3, the site still had Google ads.

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Google did not immediately respond to a request from this news organization for comment.

The Freedom Daily Starbucks story — bracketed by Google advertisements– is loosely based on a BBC report from June that said fecal bacteria had been found in ice from three coffee chains in the U.K., including Starbucks.

“If the bitter burned taste of Starbucks doesn’t leave a bad enough taste in your mouth, their catering to Islam and hate for President Donald Trump probably does, but now that test results confirm customers’ worst nightmare, even their staunchest liberals supporters are seeking other places to get their daily fix without the side of feces, which probably got in there through the sickest of means,” Freedom Daily reported.

“While this did happen in England, there’s no saying that Americans aren’t drinking fecal matter here.”

Starbucks ran afoul of the far right in January when it pledged — in the wake of a Trump ban on refugees from certain countries — to hire 10,000 refugees world-wide.

Freedom Daily’s coverage of the issue presents an even more disturbing “fact” than the suggestion about feces in drinks: Muslim-refugee baristas are actually a threat to your life.

We learn from another story — with a Google ad to its right — that it was actually Muslims sneaking poop into drinks — and that’s nothing: “Starbucks’ Muslim Workers Slipping FAR Worse Than Feces In Your Drinks — This ‘Extra’ Could Kill You,” reads another headline.

This story also refers to Starbucks’ announced hiring of refugees. “That disgusting decision made people wonder what would happen to the quality of their product and customer service with illiterate third-world people with foul customs running shops,” the story says.

It turns out, according to Freedom Daily, that hiring Muslim refugees, at least in San Diego County, may be a deadly proposition. The “extra” in the headline is tuberculosis, and some 21 percent of Muslim refugees in the county carry it, the site reports.

That story is loosely based on a 2013 article on conservative news site Breitbart claiming that a study found the active tuberculosis rate in refugees in the county was more than 100 times higher than the overall U.S. rate. Although Breitbart’s conclusion about the refugees’ tuberculosis rate was debunked by a UC San Diego medical school professor, Breitbart had only claimed a rate of a fraction of 1 percent, nothing close to the 21 percent put forward by Freedom Daily.

Muslims aren’t the only target at Freedom Daily. Another article falsely claims Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was “tackled by black teammates,” who also let him get sacked four times in one game, in retaliation for Carr’s standing during the national anthem.

“The very same white quarterback Derek Carr, whose black teammates in the week prior said Carr could ‘stand alone on the field,‘ now has a fractured spine after suffering a nearly career-ending injury on the football field,” the article says.

As evidence for the anti-white “racist” betrayal by Carr’s black offensive linesmen, the website trots out commentary from two conservative radio hosts who reportedly said Carr hadn’t been sacked once in the season before.

“In reality, Carr was sacked 16 times during the previous season,” notes fake-news-debunking website Snopes.

It’s not clear what led Freedom Daily to assert in the story’s headline that Carr was tackled by his own teammates.

Left-wing advocacy group Media Matters said it told Google Nov. 2 about its ads on Freedom Daily, but received no response from the tech giant. Google’s public statements, and testimony to Congress, suggest it wants to claim credit for dealing with fake news, while failing to take action on “even the most glaringly obvious low-hanging fruit,” Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said Nov. 3.

Media Matters said in September that it had found 41 fake-news sites that ran Google ads. Carusone said Google appears to be more focused on PR over the issue than addressing the problem.

The Campaign for Accountability, a non-profit funded in part by Google’s arch-foe Oracle, claimed Oct. 30 that it had analyzed 1,255 news websites and determined that Google “continues to place ads on many hyper-partisan and misleading websites, resulting in millions of dollars in revenue for the company.”

Starbucks had told the BBC that it was investigating the findings about ice, and that it took hygiene “extremely seriously.”


Photo: A Starbucks customer drinks coffee in Palo Alto in 2012. (Paul Sakuma/AP)


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