These Views Do Not Necessarily Reflect…

According to this article in USA Today, Starbucks is planning to run a religious quote on its cups in 2006 as part of a campaign designed “to carry on the coffeehouse tradition of conversation and debate.”  What I was prepared to write about is how absurd it seemed to me that on the cups is the disclaimer that the opinions “do not necessarily reflect the views of Starbucks.”  I thought, how can a company serve-up a message on its product, then claim the views do not necessarily reflect those of the company.  If that’s the case, don’t print the message.

Then I thought about where else I’ve seen a similar disclaimer.  Television networks, magazines and newspapers routinely make such disclaimers regarding content and I have no problem with that.  If NBC broadcasts a news story about someone who advocates racist behavior, I don’t then believe those at NBC are racist.  So why does the Starbucks thing strike me so differently?  And it’s not that I necessarily object (or don’t object) to the particular message.  It’s the notion that a message that may not reflect the opinions of the company is being used at all.  Is content on a Starbucks cup any different than content on a TV network or in the pages of a magazine or newspaper?