When it comes to consumer news, two sides of the political spectrum love to make the Other Guys out to be the devil on the airwaves. While there’s certainly more bias in typical news programs than maybe there used to be, there’s still enough integrity in newsrooms on both sides to call out reporters and contributors who cross the line on hard news.
For example, a recent Business Insider headline complemented Dana Blanton, VP of public opinion research at Fox News, for drawing a hard line on a certain popular item often used online and on social media – instant opinion polls.
According to the BI report, Blanton reminded her team that unscientific online polls do not meet the company’s editorial standards:
“…online ‘polls’ like the one on Drudge, Time, etc. where people can opt-in or self-select … are really just for fun … As most of the publications themselves clearly state, the sample obviously can’t be representative of the electorate because they only reflect the views of those Internet users who have chosen to participate…”
Blanton then detailed several reasons why those polls, though fun, don’t meet the network’s editorial standards and should not be used in reports or other news stories.
The leaked internal memo came at a good time for Fox, as, according to the BI article, at least three Fox News hosts cited the online polls in follow-up reporting after the historic presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
One immediate scientific poll was conducted, by CNN/ORC, which gave the nod to Clinton … The Clinton team immediately pounced on this poll, delighting their supporters. Meanwhile, Trump had been crowing about all the other polls, and his supporters quickly created memes listing all the online polls which gave him the nod.
Once again, it came down to Who Do You Believe, and that belief is, no doubt, inspired by previously adopted biases. Folks like who they like, and they’re not apt to apologize for it or care much about what the Other Side has to say.
This is, once again, a major reason why controlling the narrative and keeping fans energized and active is vital to any competition in the marketplace, whether commercial or political. Trump’s supporters were VERY active on the online polls after the debate, while Clinton’s were content to sit back. This gave Trump a huge talking point the morning after the debates, a missed opportunity for the Clinton campaign.
David Milberg is an experienced credit analyst in NYC.