A Pathetic Nexus of Wine & Politics
It has always been quite rare for wine and politics too meet on the same battleground. On occasion we see one country’s wine affected by tariffs or some other economic tool in the course of a trade dispute. But, it is very rare to see wine used as a tool in the battlefield of ideological warfare.
I’ve seen this happen recently. And while not terribly alarming, it does turn out to be terribly pathetic.
Because of France’s iconic status as the motherland of great and fine wine, it made section one news across the United States and the world when it was announced that the French vintners were asking for the equivalent of 250 million bottles of wine be distilled down into industrial grade alcohol. The request was a shocking example of the problems facing the French wine industry.
conservative bloggers latched on to this news and declared that this is what the French get for being stubborn obstructionists of the Bush administration’s Iraq plans. They observed that the problems in the French wine industry were a result of the boycotts against French goods. Furthermore, they declared, "they deserve it" and commenced with name calling.
The claim is of course without merit. The problems the French have with their wine industry are well documented large crops, a decrease in domestic consumptions, the rise of new world imports, a strong anti-alcohol movement in the country, and their own regulatory schemes that make it difficult to compete. Did the Boycott of French goods have an affect. Surely, but to read these bloggers you’d think that American’s had single-handedly brought down the French wine industry.
All this made me reflect on how pursuit of a political agenda often comes at the expense of accuracy. Why is it that promotion of one’s ideology appears as an excuse for the abandonment of principal and careful thought?
Some people will read these self-congratulatory diatribes, not know the facts, and assume the bloggers are just reporting the joyful news. Others who know the facts will read these brushes with accuracy and be compelled to further dismiss the legitimacy of blogs altogether. I’m not so caught up in my world of wine marketing and wine information to entertain the idea that the wine industry will somehow suffer some great blow as a result of all those who believe the false stories being unleashed by these "ideoblogs"(yes, I made that word up). Yet, it is disturbing and disheartening to know that the pathetically uncritical minds that choose agenda over accuracy will damage the reputation of blogs.
To be fair, there are those bloggers who, while wanting to push an agenda, are even more concerned with their reputation and choose to look into the facts once confronted with the distortions they first published. Justin at Neural Fusion is one such righteous blogger for whom my respect has risen tremendously.
However, the number of those who care little about accuracy because it doesn’t fit their agenda is too great. They include: