The saga continues.

I wrote two previous articles (1) and (2) where I ended the title above with a question mark, as I had no proof, only suspicions. Turns out I wasn’t hypothesizing. Turns out it is fact. The Managing Editor of CNBC, Allen Wastler, admitted it via an open letter to “the Ron Paul faithful”, so I ended this title with an exclamation mark.

I am going to reprint his article again, with my comments injected in a different colour:

Dear folks,

You guys are good. Real good. You are truly a force on World Wide Web and I tip my hat to you.

What? And other candidates don’t have passionate “forces on the World Wide Web”? If they don’t maybe you should focus on why that is…We’re not good. We’re passionate. I voted just once on that online poll, when it was up.

That’s based on my first hand experience of your work regarding our CNBC Republican candidate debate. After the debate, we put up a poll on our Web site asking who readers thought won the debate. You guys flooded it.

We did? Why didn’t other candidate’s supporters flood it? Why not?

Now these Internet polls are admittedly unscientific and subject to hacking. In the end, they are really just a way to engage the reader and take a quick temperature reading of your audience. Nothing more and nothing less. The cyber equivalent of asking the room for a show of hands on a certain question.

Then why bother adding the poll at all? I will agree with your statement of “engaging the audience” as it is a mechanism for them to interact with your page a bit longer in the hopes that they will click on the strategically placed advertising banner on the top and to the right of the page, however, it seems that when you asked the question, the “quick temperature” of your audience happened to be mostly Ron Paul supporters! The “show of hands” in the room at the time you posed the question happened to be a group of people that were very passionate about their candidate. In other words, you got what you asked for! You should be asking yourself why the other candidates cannot muster the same level of support!

So there was our after-debate poll. The numbers grew … 7,000-plus votes after a couple of hours … and Ron Paul was at 75%.

I am probably going to ask this alot, but what would you do? Have us not vote? Have us not express our passion for our candidate? But that is not what you are saying is it? Would you care if it was Rudy or Mitt, or even Fred at the top of the polls? Come on, now…admit it…would you? Honestly? If it were anyone else but Ron Paul, you would have had your reporters repeatedly “plug” the poll. You pulled it because you didn’t like the results.

Now Paul is a fine gentleman with some substantial backing and, by the way, was a dynamic presence throughout the debate , but I haven’t seen him pull those kind of numbers in any “legit” poll. Our poll was either hacked or the target of a campaign. So we took the poll down.

A “legit” poll? Oh, you must mean the ones where it is run by a “legit” firm … like yours for example. You mean the legitimate polls where the questions have been worded in such a way or candidates have been excluded from the questions. We have seen in the past where Dr. Paul is left out of the questions. How do you develop your sampling base? Any cell phone numbers you call in that list? I have seen “legit” polls have about as much credibility as the CPI.

Your poll was hacked? How could you let that happen? I wrote extensively in a previous article about the use of IP address tracking and using CAPTCHAs to prevent automated programs from voting for a candidate over and over again. But then again, what is preventing other candidates supporters from writing the same code to vote again and again for Rudy, Mitt, Mike, and Fred? You have a duty to ensure that when you release a poll to the public, that you take all necessary steps to ensure that the poll is somewhat bullet proof to hacking. Of course there are going to be biases in any poll. Just like if you put a poll up asking your readership what they think of Britney Spears, it’s not likely my grandmother will vote. You will most likely capture 20-30 somethings who (a) are pretty inane, vacuous, and superficial in general and (b) care enough to click their mouse to vote and submit it.

Sigh…what would you have Ron Paul supporters do, Mr. Wastler? Not vote? Not express their passion for their candidate? As I said before, maybe you should ask yourself why other candidates do NOT have such as strong support base. I will say this once:

Ron Paul’s supporters do NOT have exclusive use of the Internet over the supporters of other GOP candidates. Period. End of Story. Full Stop.

The next day, our email basket was flooded with Ron Paul support messages. And the computer logs showed the poll had been hit with traffic from Ron Paul chat sites.

Of course they were. They were watching the debate!!!! They were watching CNBC! They were looking at your advertisements. They were on your website! They were involved! They were discussing the debate and forwarding the URL to your poll to each other! You would think that your marketing department would be overjoyed! Why is it that other candidates cannot attract the same passion! This is unique! Why is that?

It’s because of Dr. Paul’s message. He is the first candidate to openly acknowledge that we went to war under false pretenses. He had always said that and it was unconstitutional. You, the media we are supposed to trust, went to sleep on that. But boy, did you guys ever howl when a certain President and a certain stain on a blue dress came to your attention!

Ron Paul understands the constitution and liberty. He understands how the IRS administers taxes and how the Federal Reserve administers inflation, fleecing us from multiple angles. He understands the perils of fractional reserve banking. He understands monetary theory. He is a shining gem in a pile of shit. This is why his message RESONATES so strongly with people. He is not like the other clones. On a personal note, I have never endorsed ANY political candidate this strongly before – there were never any that I found that had so much value at such a critical time.

I learned other Internet polls that night had been hit in similar fashion. Congratulations. You folks are obviously well-organized and feel strongly about your candidate and I can’t help but admire that.

Don’t patronize us, sir. We are not organized in the sense you are thinking of. We do not call each other up and say, “Let’s spam the CNBC poll!”. Yes, we do have meetup groups (as other candidates do), and we have Youtube channels, (as other candidates do), and we have websites and commentary et. al. like other candidates do.

Don’t you get it? Why don’t you run a piece and ask why Ron Paul supporters care so much? Gather what they say. Shortlist the questions (but don’t you dare short the questions about the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and how Ron Paul wants to eliminate income tax – that has interest to every single American).

But you also ruined the purpose of the poll. 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.

Again, what would you do, Mr. Wastler? Have us not vote? You got you wanted: a show of hands of everyone that was in your room! You simply didn’t like it that most of the people in the room were Ron Paul supporters! If you think you were hacked, take steps to mitigate or eliminate that possibility by releasing your polls with some “hackingproof” technology. This should be obvious to you..or is it that you are afraid if you do put mechanisms to hackproof your poll, you might find out that Ron Paul still wins in them, but you no longer have the excuse to tell the public that the poll was “hacked”. Hmm..

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.

You mean like how the mainstream media shapes and manufactures consent? You mean like how Fox News essentially threw their full weight and blessing behind the Bush Administration to go to war with Iraq and tried fanatically to get their viewership to agree with them? You mean like the well-organized and committed “few” who get to control the news and the associated spin of it to the many of their readership? You mean like when it has been proven that elections have been rigged via the Diebold voting machines:

, short circuiting democracy, and the media machinery scarcely trembles! The media has a moral and ethical duty to scream bloody murder at evidence like this, yet they go to sleep. It’s not like you won’t have reader interest!

I get a little worried when that happens. I get worried when the sentiments of a few are removed so that they won’t upset the many.

The Ron Paul campaign is different. He has a message the mainstream media refuses to retransmit, for whatever reason. If it weren’t for the Internet, we would not know about all aspects of his message. We are not relying on mainstream media anymore, and that is pissing mainstream off. Their credibility is slipping away, bit by bit, drop by drop.

If it weren’t for the Internet, you would have never have written your letter, as you could simply pull your poll without an explanation. Thankfully enough of us were watching CNBC and snagged images of what you did before and after.


PS. It does not seem that I am the only one who has written about this.