Photoshop by David Lunde
After the Chicago Tribune reported last week that Miller Brewing provided $30,000 to pro-illegal alien activists for a planning convention, materials and newspaper ads publicizing a protest this weekend, the company defended itself in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here are the headline and subhead:
Miller denies financing march
Brewer supports reform, not illegal immigration, it says
Here’s the spin:
The Chicago Tribune reported that Miller had paid more than $30,000 for “a planning convention, materials and newspaper ads” connected to this weekend’s “Immigrant Workers Justice Walk.”
Not so, Miller spokesman Peter J. Marino said.
“The money supported a recent convention on immigration issues in Chicago, which provided attendees with information on how to become legally naturalized citizens of the U.S.,” he said.
Yes, it all depends on what the meaning of “finance” is. See, they didn’t “finance” the march. They just helped pay for the planners to plan it, advertise it, and publicize it. And, oh yeah, they handed out information on how to get citizenship.
[M]arch advertisements feature not just the organizing committee’s trademark blue globe but Miller’s logo and a Spanish translation of its “Live Responsibly” slogan, a company effort to build goodwill among Latinos.
Mathew Romero, the company’s local market development manager, said Miller felt it was important to speak out against Sensenbrenner’s legislation, though his campaign was one of many the company supported.
Romero noted that company founder Frederick Miller was a German immigrant and many current executives are foreign nationals. Miller is now part of London-based SABMiller.
Romero said he wasn’t worried that some opponents of illegal immigration would be upset at the company’s support of “the free movement of people, labor, goods and services.”
“As long as you are stacking facts against facts, they are free to make their own decisions. We will stand by our positions,” he said.
To date, the Tribune has issued no corrections or clarifications regarding its story on Miller. In standard corporate CYA mode, the Miller spokesman Peter Marino says “Miller supports reform of immigration law, but not illegal immigration.” Uh-huh. How do you say “playing both sides” in Spanish? More on that in a moment.
Miller has issued a second face-saving denial that it provided financial backing for a radical illegal immigrant activist group, Voces de La Frontera, which has lobbied aggressively for drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens:
As Miller denied involvement in the Chicago march, meanwhile, the leader of a Milwaukee immigrant-rights group that has held two large marches here said Miller had helped that organization financially.
Marino denied that too.
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, said Miller contacted the group earlier this year and offered a donation before a May 1 march. She said the company provided what she believed was a couple hundred dollars used for buses to bring marchers from Racine and Kenosha.
Marino said Miller “did not support the May 1 march or participate in the May 1 march in any way.”
I know who I believe. Before you decide who you believe, you should know this:
In March, Miller Brewing–pressured by illegal alien activists incensed over the company PAC’s past donation to leading pro-immigration enforcement proponent GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner, author of HR. 4337–issued the following statement gleefully publicized by Hispanic groups and media:
In productive discussions held yesterday, we agreed to:
1) Provide assistance to community efforts to reach out to specific members of the Senate and business associations in Washington D.C.
2) Make a clear public statement regarding our opposition to HR 4437 and our desire for appropriate immigration reform that provides adequate protection for the rights of undocumented immigrants.
3) Place print advertisements in Chicago and Milwaukee media stating our opposition to HR 4437.
4) Work with the organizations to explore opportunities for community-based partnerships with a particular focus on scholarships for undocumented students.
The declaration was issued by Nehl Horton, Senior Vice President, Communications and Government Affairs, Miller Brewing Company.
In other words, support for the Chicago march is not some rogue local decision. It is an extension of the company’s corporate cave-in to the open-borders lobby.
Miller earned heaps of praise for its pandering. Via BusinessWeek this past April:
In 2004, Miller’s PAC donated $2,000 to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), author of the tough immigration bill that passed the House in December. That prompted an immigrant-rights group, the Chicago Committee Against H.R. 4437, to announce a boycott of Miller’s beers on Mar. 10, the day of a massive pro-immigration rally in Chicago. One of Miller’s Chicago marketing managers, Matt Romero, got wind of the boycott when distributors said they got pushback from bar owners and retailers.
The company immediately sought a meeting to discuss the situation. On Mar. 15, Romero joined a five-person team led by Nehl Horton, Miller’s senior vice-president for communications and government relations, to meet with group leaders at a community center in Pilsen, a predominantly Latino Chicago neighborhood. Miller agreed to run newspaper ads opposing the legislation and helped to facilitate meetings between immigrant rights backers and lawmakers. On Mar. 18 the group officially ended its boycott.
The Latino groups chalked it up as a win. “We think it was an important victory,” says Carlos Arango of Casa Aztlán, one of the 100 organizations in the protest committee. But the outcome was also a triumph for Miller, which resolved the situation before it wreaked havoc on business. Instead of responding defensively, Miller used the situation to reinforce its image as a corporation that’s committed to diversity.
So what will Miller do to show that it is a corporation committed to law, order, and unity? I mean besides mouthing empty platitudes while continuing to bow and scrape to open-borders extremist groups.
Reader Clem writes that there’s a petition effort underway here.
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