CNBC Dismisses Complaints Over Online Poll

    October 12, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Ron Paul fared a little too well in a post-Republican debate poll run by CNBC, prompting the news site’s managing editor to believe astroturfing had taken place, forcing them to take down the poll.

Allen Wastler, managing editor of, said in an open letter to Ron Paul supporters that the candidate’s supporters “ruined the purpose of the poll” by their actions:

It was no longer an honest “show of hands” — it suddenly was a platform for beating the Ron Paul drum. That certainly wasn’t our intention and certainly doesn’t serve our readers … at least those who aren’t already in the Ron Paul camp.

Some of you Ron Paul fans take issue with my decision to take the poll down. Fine. When a well-organized and committed “few” can throw the results of a system meant to reflect the sentiments of “the many,” I get a little worried. I’d take it down again.

Wastler blamed hacking or a targeted campaign for skewing the numbers in favor of Paul: more than 7,000 votes, with 75 percent in favor of the Texas libertarian.

Suggesting a hack took place borders on a criminal accusation. Wastler may want to back off that line of thinking unless CNBC’s IT staff can prove that happened.

But as far as people organizing and taking part in a poll en masse, isn’t that kind of the point of participating in the election process? Would a 75 percent share for Republican front-runners Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani have prompted CNBC to pull down the poll, suggest a hack took place, call out supporters for voting as a dedicated block?

Wastler missed a great opportunity to ask a question of the Republican camps besides Paul’s – why aren’t your supporters working the Internet as fervently as those of Ron Paul?