Reuters Drinking From The Same Misinformation Bottle As Wine Sellers

from the try,-try-again dept

Two weeks ago, we pointed to a study that made it clear that, despite warnings from local wine merchants who were afraid of competition from online retailers, kids were not buying very much wine online. The wine sellers’ industry organization couldn’t accept that, of course, and tried to spin the story to suggest that kids buying wine online had become a huge issue. Luckily, Carl Bialik at the Wall Street Journal went through and debunked the conclusions the wine sellers were pitching — even getting the research firm that did the study to admit that the claims of the wine sellers were not consistent with what the study actually said. Of course, not all news publications are as thorough as the WSJ in looking at such claims. Some like to simply take the press releases of various organizations, add a few quotes and run them as news. It appears that’s exactly what Reuters has done, basically taking the wine sellers’ word, and running a fear-mongering report about kids buying alcohol online, entitled “Point-click-drink: It’s that easy for teens.” It’ll attract plenty of attention, of course. Too bad it isn’t particularly accurate.

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Comments on “Reuters Drinking From The Same Misinformation Bottle As Wine Sellers”

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Jon Gales (user link) says:

What was the margin of error?

Anyone else notice that their research didn’t have a margin of error given? It has been a while since I studied statistics, but I just ran the numbers and the margin of error is 3.1%, which completely invalidates their data. They found a statistically insignificant number of teens buying alcohol online. Which is exactly the case, but that’s not their conclusion.

“Conducted in 2006 by Teenage Research Unlimited, the survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,001 young people between the ages of 14 and 20 years revealed that 2 percent (representing 551,000 nationally) reported having personally bought alcohol online.”

dorpus says:

Re: What was the margin of error?

When dealing with a small proportion, margin of error is not an appropriate statistic. It is more useful to talk about the 95% CI applied to the log-odds, which is structurally minimized at 0.0. One can compute this using a logistic regression.

Alternatively, one could use a Poisson regression to determine whether the availability of online purchases increases the quantity of alcohol consumption among all teens.

Anonymous Coward says:

nobody notices packaging?

Where exactly are these kids having the packages delivered? Are they clearly marked? Most credit card verification companies check the address on file and wouldn’t ship to any other location unless it was pre-authorized. I know if my parents saw me getting a big old box with WINE written on it they would be opening it in a second.

rijit (profile) says:

RE: #9 by Anonymous Coward

“so much easier when you know someone older, ie older brother’s reckless college friend, how i remember it heh”

Had friend in high school who looked mid to late 20’s, he always bought the drinks, never carded, until his senior year. He asked the guy why he had never been carded before, the clerk just smiled and said “You never used to wear a class ring.”

As for the article above, you would think someone would take the time to at least search something out on the Internet before running a story. Specially if you get the story elsewhere, just to make sure it is credible.

william says:

Wine Wine Wine

I bet the teens who order it themselves are on there own (not living at home). And therefore are at no risk of being discovered by there Parents. I’ve been on my own since I was 17 never ordered wine online though.
Hey I used to sneak into bars. Once you’re in they never card you for drinks. My trick was go before they start carding. Most of my local bars don’t have anyone at the door till 10:30 when people really start showing up and anyone could walk in before that.

Aussie says:

Good ol' Oz

Fortunately we only have to wait until 18 here. I was still 17 when I went to University though, so it was still 6 months of sneaking into bars… usually VERY easy when you are going in with a massive group on a bar crawl.

Other than that, I had a lot of older friends who would drive down to the liquor store and get us whatever we paid for.

I don’t drink much now though, maybe a half dozen times a year – depending on who I am with, and hardly ever to excess.

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