Jan 6, 2011

Lobbyist press release passed off as news spins the effect of the smoking ban

It’s expected that trade groups and lobbyists will spin the facts, but we don’t expect the conservative mainstream media to do it.

We saw an example of that in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus on Wednesday when they did a story on the effect of the recently enacted popular workplace smoking ban on bars and restaurants. The story looked like little more than a press release from the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA) – a staunch opponent of the ban - with some quotes thrown in from local bar and restaurant owners to localize a press release.

The story, called, “Bar, lottery sales down after May 1,” is, apparently, based on a report from the Michigan Department of Treasury released last month called “Early Impact of Michigan’s Smoking Ban.” However, it spins the facts to make it look like the ban has hurt business when the fact is it has increased it.

The analysis of tax receipts found that overall sales tax collections – and hence sales - in restaurants and bars were up 2.84 percent over last year when the ban went into effect on May 1 to September. But the MRA/LCP spun it as liquor sales fell 3.1 percent, and that was just from on premises liquor sales.

True, but the fact is more people spent money in bars and restaurants after the ban went into effect, Now, that may be important, but the most important thing is that the U.S. Surgeon General also issued a report last month that found that as little as one cigarette a day, or even just inhaling smoke from someone else's cigarette, could be enough to cause a heart attack and even death.

The fact is sales in neighborhood taverns that only sell booze fell by just 1.57 percent, a far cry from the false claims of a 60 percent drop and bars closing. Club lottery sales fell 13.7 percent after the ban. That can be attributed to the slow recovery from the Bush recession here in Michigan, as well as at least two – that I know of – highly publicized boycotts of Michigan Lottery games. The amount of free earned media that they received about the boycotts was ridiculous.

Another false claim by the pro-smoking lobby is that bars are going out of business because of the ban, and as proof they claim the number of liquor licenses that wound up in escrow — an indicator of when establishments shutter or stop serving booze – have increased since the ban. Perhaps a good indicate, but the fact is the exact opposite is true. Treasury officials report the number of liquor licenses that wound up in escrow decreased after the ban went into effect. The number fell over the same period last year, down to 240 from 278.

Here is the real bottom line driving the spin by trade associations, according to the report, the sale of cigarettes fell 5.4 percent after the ban, and that is the only product the 22 percent who still smoke in Michigan are using less of after the ban.


brad said...

Who or what consists of the conservative mainstream media? Im trying to figure you out here. Thanks.

Communications guru said...

The corporate media, like the Gannet-owned paper I refer to in the post.

brad said...

Hahaha says the guy who's parent company also owns USA Today who's founder has said the paper isnt liberal enough. Youre a funny man.

Communications guru said...

“The guy who's (sic) parent company?” Who would that be? The media is conservative, at least as conservative as corporations are. But what the media isn’t, is liberal. That was just a very successful political strategy.

brad said...

usa today, nytimes, latimes, washpo and on and on and on arent liberal? msnbc, cnn, abc, nbc, cbs, oprah, the view mostly, discovery channel, pbs, npr all arent liberal? hahaha, you sir are smoking something extreme.

Communications guru said...

That is correct; the mainstream media is as liberal as corporations, which they are. The Discovery Channel, The View and Oprah? You consider that the mainstream media? I don’t smoke.

brad said...

so the mainstream media is liberal as you just stated. fox tv shows like the simpsons and family guy rip on fox news. the parent company is news corp. so parts of news corp are liberal. you can have a conservative leaning parent company that has liberal offspring cant you? so all of the items ive listed are leftward leaning not to mentions all of the teachers and schools out there. you have a monopoly except on the radio, so whats your beef? is there an original post you have statign your beliefs and why?

Communications guru said...

No, the mainstream media is not liberal, and I never said they were. What I said, which is true, is that the mainstream media is a liberal as corporations. I thought you were smart enough to know that corporations are a lot of things, but they are not liberal.

Let me make this clear for you: the media is conservative. When I say mainstream media, I mean news outlets. Schools and teachers are liberal? Not unless you consider education liberal. Liberals do not have a monopoly on any news or information medium.

“is (sic) there an original post you have statign (sic) your beliefs and why? Sure, the paragraph right after the title of the blog.

brad said...

Teachers unions are in the tank for the Democrats. Who are in the unions? Teachers.

Next, small localized newspapers like the one you listed in this article do not count as "main stream" media, maybe local media ill grant you that.

every item i listed previously is liberal. again youre telling me a parent company wont or cant have something different than them? andrew breitbart has a stake in the huffington post. some parents who are straight have gay kids. or parents who are liberal have conservative kids. so again, parent companies cant have differing of opinion offshoots?

i think the point is made here and people may agree with a lot of things you say but know you are way off point on the media is conservative. notice how obama gets favorable coverage no matter what he does where all the previous news items listed ripped a rather liberal bush non stop while he was in office? example, gas prices are rising and it was all over the news and bush's fault. they are rising now and not a word as how obama isnt letting drilling happen etc..........

the "mainstream" is in the tank for obama. maybe you should revisit the election coverage on him, he could do no wrong.

Communications guru said...

You had to stretch for that flawed analogy. No, “Teachers unions” are not “in the tank for the Democrats.” Unions support Democrats because Democrats support the working and middle class.

The small localized newspaper like the Press & Argus and ones like it are the very definition of mainstream media. They carry national news from the AP, and they are owned by one of the largest media companies in the country and carry their content and editorial stances.

I’m telling you the mainstream news outlets are owned by large corporations, which are conservative, not liberal.
No, I am right on about the media being conservative. Granted, people will disagree, but that’s because the right has hammered the lie about the media being liberal. It’s a very effective political strategy.

No, I don’t notice how Obama “gets favorable coverage” because he doesn’t. If you want to talk about favorable coverage, just take a look at the coverage leading up to the Iraq invasion.

Obama is not stopping anyone from drilling for oil.

brad said...

I am really starting to worry about your thought processes or sanity when you say what is or isnt happening when it really is happening and it comes straight from the horses mouth. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/45803.html -- oil drilling.

again i ask, if a parent has a kid, can that kid be a lot different than the parent? a corporation would want to have many avenues to make money and appeal to certain markets. every example above that i have given proves my point. everyone of those media outlets supports or endorses the liberals and not the conservatives. so when the NYT endorses obama and kerry and al gore and bill clinton and on and on and on says nothing to you and that the liberal candidate is always better? or the fact that negative stories on republicans far outweigh anything negative on democrats?

kevin, who cares who owns what, its whats in the messages. and those outlets are putting out the message that they are liberal. ask chris matthews when he gets thrill running up his leg ok?

Communications guru said...

Are you kidding? I stand by what I wrote. The story you linked to is about new oil leases. Even if they didn’t have to prove offshore drilling is safe, it’s a drop in the bucket and will take years to get into production. It has nothing to do with the current high price of gas. When the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history occurred last summer in the Gulf of Mexico and current drilling was stopped, gas prices barely moved.

Let me get this straight, if I take one word out of one sentence then you will have no problem with the blog post? However, I won’t because the fact is the mainstream media is more conservative than it is liberal.

A parent and a child have nothing to do with this. The number one goal of the conservative, mainstream media is to make money, just like corporations. The media is as conservative as GE, IBM or any other Fortune 500 company. The liberal candidate is always better, at least the Democrat in this case. It’s not a fact that,” negative stories on republicans far outweigh anything negative on democrats.”

Chris Matthews is not a reporter.

brad said...

Youre right, because Harvard did a study on the positive and negative press on the 2008 election. lets take a gander shall we? http://www.journalism.org/node/8187 looks like the dems received a lot more favorable coverage than the repubs. coincidence?

yes corporations want to make money off of everyone, hence the point of being in business. so why wouldnt parent companies want both lib and conservative media outlets? as a whole, the media has a liberal bias. isnt it something like 88% of all "journalists" are or tend to vote democrat? if that is the case, it is impossible to keep their biases out of their reports.

brad said...

fine ill keep it coming, pew research polling data http://www.profutures.com/print.php/259/

the iraqies tend to agree. its in the story.

this is fun, thanks kevin.

Communications guru said...

Yes, coincidence. Let me think: Obama Vs. McCain: how could Obama not get more favorable coverage?

Nowhere did I say I have a problem with corporations making money, but that should not be the only consideration. Quality journalism should be, and that is no longer the case. Newspapers always used to be profitable because quality was the bottom line. Corporations began buying them up with the goal of making a decent profit even bigger, and they did that by cutting staff and going after fluff stories. That’s why we had this shabby story, and that’s why newspapers are in such trouble.

I worked at that very paper for six years and with that reporter. He simply took a press release from the pro-smoking association and make a couple of quick phone calls to localize the story to get some copy out the door quickly.

No, the media does not have a liberal bias. If it has any bias it’s conservative,. I said it once and I'll say it again, the media is as liberal as GE, IBM or Exxon Mobil.

brad said...

because? what blog over your vastness of blogs would you best say states why the media is conservative? is there a liberal media outlet you like?

Communications guru said...


brad said...

you state "No, the media does not have a liberal bias. If it has any bias it’s conservative,. I said it once and I'll say it again, the media is as liberal as GE, IBM or Exxon Mobil." because here means why would you say that? is there a blog post from that past you are especially proud of that seems to back up your point that the media is conservative? because it seems to me, most people view the media as liberal leaning. a view they come up with all on their own. why is it that libs despise fox news but love msnbc and cnn? thanks kevin.

Communications guru said...

Sure, look up media consolidation. Of course most people view the media as liberal leaning, but they didn’t come up with that false view on their own. Republicans pushed it constantly. It was an ingenious strategy. If there is a story they like they say the media finally got it right. If it’s a critical story, they just dismiss it by claming the liberal media. It’s like working the refs, and I know from personal experience that reporters lean far right to do try to disprove something that doesn’t even exist. Corporations that have liberal polices are few and far between.

MSNBC is actually fair and balanced, but the bulk of their commentators are liberal. However, they back up what they say and, and they don’t back away from criticizing Democrats. They also have rightwing hosts like Joe Scarbourgh. Show me a liberal host on Faux. MSNBC’s news is not biased. You will never find leaked emails from MSNBC telling them how to slant the news like you did at faux.

brad said...

so you dont have a blog entry that started it all? gotcha. as for liberal hosts, greta van sustren. maybe you think fox leans to the right, with commentators i wont disagree. but the guests they have are massive lefties which is fine for the opposite point to their points. joe scar is by no means a conservative anymore, he has to become more liberal or his job will be gone from PMSnbc.

so the polls and studies that come out showing more favorable coverage of the dem candidates and policies vs the repubs ADD the fact that journalists tend to vote democrat 88% of the time and the media is still conservative. gotcha. because they are fooling everyone.

Communications guru said...

I have posted more than 1,200 articles, and plenty of them were on media consolidation. Just click on the key words on the bottom.
Greta Van Sustren is a liberal? What makes you think that? I find it hard to believe she’s a liberal after the way she slobbered over the Palins.

I think Faux leans to the right? They are the propaganda arm of the Republican Party. Didn’t you read about the leaked emails where they were framing the debate on health insurance reform? The “liberal” guests they have on the show are what are known as “faux liberals,” like Juan Williams. Talk about lightweights. In fact, Juan Williams is the only well-known liberal I have ever heard of.
Joe Scarborough is “by no means a conservative anymore?” He was a Republican Congressman, for Christ sakes.

Apparently you have not read a single thing I wrote, and I’m wasting my time. The media is conservative. It’s as conservative as the large corporations that own them. They have never been liberal, and the liberal media myth is a Republican political strategy. Got it?

brad said...

bob beckel, anthony wiener, susan estrich, colmes, this guy http://personman.com/liberals_at_fox_news

in fact so many counter points i dont even know them all, just to name a few. anyways, commentators yes, news reporters no. hence the link above.

anyways, people know youre wrong on this whole conservative media diatribe. if the parent company puts money into gop coffers and not as much into the dems, so be it. they can still have children companies that are liberal. that logic you use is vastly flawed. again its like saying you KEVIN can not have any kids that are conservative. the liberal children of "conservative" parent corps make them money too right? why do you think obama bans fox news in the white house televisions? if everyone was conservative he wouldnt be so loving to all of the other stations and media outlets.

Communications guru said...

No, people don’t “know youre (sic) wrong on this whole conservative media ‘diatribe,’” because I’m not. You certainly did not made a case for me being wrong. The media is not liberal. You can try and make a case they are not conservative, but they are not liberal.

No one brought up political contributions, but that is certainly a good indicator. Show me a corporation with liberal policies. The children analogy – I really can’t call it logic – is flawed. Corporations are not children. If your children do not toe the corporate line, you can’t fire them and bring in new children. Who said Obama bans Faux “news” in the White House televisions?

Again, Faux “news” has an agenda, and it’s the Republican agenda. It makes no sense for Obama to appear on Faux.

There was a good reason scholars at the University of Maryland found that viewers of Faux “news” were the most misinformed.

brad said...

so the univ of maryland is correct and harvard is wrong along with pew research. ok, you win.

Communications guru said...

I never said the Pew study was incorrect. I don’t see how it proves the corporate media is liberal. The October 2007 study on the 2008 election only proves there were more negative stories on Grampy McSame than on Barack Obama. That seems to be more of a reflection on McCain and Obama than the media.

On the Maryland study, it’s something than can be actually measured. For example, asking people if they knew they received a tax break after Obama took office. Faux viewers said no; demonstrating how misinformed they are of the facts. It’s a yes or no answer, and the answer is yes. What can be more clear?

But I’m happy to see you finally conceded, and this thread is played out.

Please be my guest and post your comments on another blog post.