Facts Matter: It's OK for Starbucks employees to wish customers a merry Christmas

An Twitter post supposedly from a Starbucks manager threatening to fire employees who wished customers “Merry Christmas” is fake, according to The Associated Press.

The false item, which claimed to be from a manager at a Charlotte, North Carolina, Starbucks, said he “informed my employees that they will be fired on the spot if I hear them say ‘Merry Christmas' to any customers.”

But Starbucks doesn't tell its servers what to say.

“Our baristas are offered the autonomy to choose how to greet each person,” Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told the AP. “No script is provided.”

The account, MuellerDad69, listed at a New York location, was suspended by Twitter, according to

“(The user) is not an employee of Starbucks and his account has been suspended due to impersonation,” Starbucks said on Twitter.

Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King posted a screen shot of the comment to his Facebook account with the comment ‘Wow.” The post was shared more than 9,000 times, the AP said.

Collins mischaracterizes Pelosi statement

During impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Doug Collins claimed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said it was dangerous to let voters decide whether President Donald Trump should stay in office, according to

“In November 2019, Speaker Pelosi said it would be ‘dangerous' to leave it to voters to determine whether President Trump stays in office,” Collins said.

But that's not what Pelosi said, according to PolitiFact.

In a Nov. 18 letter to Democrats, Pelosi said, “The weak response to these (impeachment) hearings has been, ‘Let the election decide.' That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”

Pelosi said it was dangerous because Trump is “‘jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.' She did not say it's dangerous to leave it to voters to determine whether Trump stays in office, as Collins said she did,” PolitiFact said.

Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel earlier said Pelosi told Democrats it would be dangerous to let voters decide Trump's fate, PolitiFact said.

The president referred to Emanuel's quote shortly after that, PolitiFact said.

Sanders exaggerated poverty rate

During a recent Democratic presidential debate, candidate Bernie Sanders exaggerated the childhood poverty rate in the U.S., according to The Associated Press.

“Today in America, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth,” Sanders said.

Although poverty is relative to each nation, poverty in the U.S. is not the world's worst for children, the AP said.

The U.S. has an above-average rate of childhood poverty but is not among the 42 countries listed with the highest level in a 2018 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the AP said. Nations with a higher rate of childhood poverty include Russia, Chile, Spain, India, Turkey, Israel, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa and China.

Democratic senators didn't switch parties

U.S. Rep. Jefferson Van Drew of New Jersey earlier this month switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP.

But a Dec. 15 article published on satirical website about four Democratic senators jumping to the GOP is fake, according to

According to the article, senators Jack Layton of Michigan, Christina Clark of Washington, Gordon Campbell of California and Kareem Jabari of New York wanted to change parties over “the impeachment proceedings initiated by their own party.” The story contains photos of the four and claims they have already filed the paperwork necessary for a party transfer.

None of those named are members of the U.S. Senate, according to Three are former Canadian politicians and one, Kareem Jabari, is a made-up name. The photo of Jabari is actually Mark Warner, a lawyer active in Canadian politics.

A disclaimer on the site says, “Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news, because it is not real.”

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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