by Alan Lange

I had really committed myself tonight not to comment about this poll. Given the sponsors, I placed very little stock in the results. But I have to say I knew I smelled a rat when I watched WAPT tonight and saw the phrasings of the questions posed in this supposed poll.

WAPT and the JacksonFreePress recently teamed up for some “hard investigative journalism” (grrrr) to get to the bottom of how much Jacksonians hate Frank Melton.

They engaged a company called ZATA-3. A visit to their website shows that the company is little more than a front operation with no real company presence or substantial information at all. A google search on ZATA-3 yields almost nothing. So that really got me looking.

A WHOIS lookup at Network Solutions shows that the principal that registered the domain is Ilro Lee.

A quick Google Search shows that Ilro was an Economist at (you guessed it) – Winning Connections run by Mississippi alums Brad Chism and John Jameson. Winning Connections is a major Democrat advocacy and polling firm. Among their clients (you guessed it again) – Harvey Johnson. Brad Chism is also listed as a principal in ZATA-3. This begs the question, why was this done via ZATA3 and not by Winning Connections.

Also, from the memory division . . . there was some very unethical push polling done in West Jackson during the mayoral campaign. Winning Connections is a firm that was on the Johnson payroll during the campaign, but they strongly denied any involvement. Could ZATA3 have been involved? They obviously had the phone lists and the equipment to do this poll. We certainly cannot claim to any factual degree that there is a ZATA3 link to the push polling, but engaging this poll through a straw dog company with obvious ties to Harvey Johnson raises more questions than it answers.

This deal was clearly a setup and it backfired again.