Wine, Fake Polls and No Shame
The battle for wine between the monopolist wholesalers and small wineries has begun in Michigan where the the beer and whine wholesalers and Michigan Liquor control commission, along with fake public policy groups like "Coalition for a safe and responsible Michigan" are using their money and the influence they’ve bought in the legislature to take on about 40 Michigan wineries in a bid to assure all profits stay with the wholesalers.
The first volley in the battle was a poll conducted on the issue of alcohol delivery. This is a standard tactic used primarily to produce cover for legislators who on the one hand want to support those who contributed to their campaigns (wholesalers) but have a feeling such support would violate the desires of the citizens.
This poll, those commission by "The Coalition for a safe and responsible Michigan" was actually paid for by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. Released last week, the pool is being tauted as proving that Michigan residents don’t want directs shipping of wine.
First, let’s be clear that this "Coalition", run by Lansing lobbyist Better Mercer and claiming to have numerous members, is in fact owned and directed by the Wholesalers. It’s one of many such fake organizations the wholesalers across the country have set up by completely ignoring the cynicism the organizations represent.
Second, this new poll is a perfect example of a PUSH POLL. What’s that? It’s a poll taken in which the questions are designed to obtain a particular response.
Take for example this question:
"Now I would like to describe…concerns that have been associated with the sale of beer, wine, liquor and other alcohol products through the mail or over the Internet. It will hurt Michigan small businesses that will be forced to compete directly with large, international corporations? Is this a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, only a minor problem, or not really a problem at all?
24% Very serious problem
27% Somewhat serious problem
22% Only a minor problem
18% Not really a problem at all
I spoke with Mercer, the "head" of the Coalition and asked, which "large international corporations" will Michigan wineries be forced to compete with if they are allowed to continue to ship direct. Ms. Mercer had no idea. She told me, "you’ll have to speak to the organization that conducted the poll.
So I did. I spoke with poll takers EPIC*MRA. And I asked the same question. They did not know which large, international corporations were going to swoop into Michigan either.
Of course they didn’t know. It’s a completely bogus question meant to get those taking the poll to offer up a response against direct shipping.
Even more interesting is this. Early on in the poll the questions is asked would you support legislation allowing direct shipping into Michigan and from Michigan wineries. 45% said yes. 44% said no. Then they start asking questions about "large, international corporations and minors getting their hands on alcohol.
Finally, after PUSHING this information/questions on the survey respondents they ask the following question:
"People sometimes change their mind while taking surveys. Thinking
about these two concerns, do you think that Michigan law should be
changed to allow both in-state and out-of-state companies to sell
beer, wine, liquor and other alcohol products by mail or over the
Internet, or, do you think that all sales of alcohol products by mail
or over the Internet should be banned?"
63% say it should be banned.
This last question is a perfect example of what these kind of polls are meant to do, create exactly the response those paying for the poll want.
Now this poll will be used to convince Michigan State Legislators to vote to ban all direct shipping. Better Mercer is a mature, competent, experienced player in Lansing, Michigan politics. Nevertheless, she should be ashamed of herself for being involved in a crusade to hurt the state’s wineries just to make a measly retainer fee offered up by the Michigan wholesalers. She should be ashamed of herself for doing anything to suggest there is a clear and present danger of minors using the Internet to obtain alcohol when she knows there is no such problem and no supporting study to suggest it is happening.
This battle is just beginning. The second volley was tossed by the wholesalers when they got some legislators who have received wholesaler money to to introduce a bill last week that would ban all direct shipping to Michigan consumers. A competing bill will be introduced this week by someone who has not received money from Michigan wineries that would allow direct shipping.