Friday, October 12, 2007

Re: An Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful

Mr. Wastler,

I don't want to simply rant or YELL at you, but I'd like to make a few points in response to your pseudo-accusatory remarks directed at Ron Paul supporters.

First, when you say that, " ... these Internet polls are admittedly unscientific and subject to hacking," you are incorrectly implying that other "legit" polls are not so. As I understand it, a "traditional" poll method leading up to primaries is to call 400 land-line numbers of previous primary voters. This alone introduces selection bias which detracts from the "scientific" accuracy of results.

Then, you go on to conclude that, "Our poll was either hacked or the target of a campaign." Now, whether or not your poll was hacked can only be known by CNBC and your web administrators. But since your core business is to deliver accurate financial information to the public, one would hope the security and reliability of your information isn't compromised. To give you the benefit of the doubt, we'll assume that your website is reliable and, also assuming very little "legit" Ron Paul support exists, that the poll was "the target of a campaign." Is this not, for better or worse, the way our political system works? Isn't the primary vote, the presidential vote, and the votes for every other elected position in our government the "target of a campaign?" So clearly, this isn't a sufficient reason to remove the poll, or else you would also have to remove coverage of every vote ever conducted. Your reasoning doesn't add up, so to remove *this* poll is to censor and edit facts based on some other judgment. If the actions of a well-organized campaign of individuals, acting within the rules *you* establish, makes a poll un-scientific, then how much more-so does your action of censorship?

Though your "show of hands" analogy is an admiral objective, you either intentionally refuse or ignorantly fail to see where it breaks down. It seems the poll was meant to be a "show of hands" of a certain or select few people in a certain or select space you consider to be "scientifically" representative. What actually happened is that masses of people from outside your pre-supposed space poured in to demonstrate not just their support they have for one of the options you were offering, but also to indirectly demonstrate the clumsiness and inappropriateness of your selection of individuals and space. Admittedly, this is more a criticism of all of "old media" than your poll specifically, but your poll is just another example of new forces at work in our country, and in your industry specifically. I.e., "old media" used to be the ' ... well-organized and committed "few" ... ' guiding ' ... a system meant to reflect the sentiments of "the many"' but that is changing. You should be worried.


P.S. There are others who want to talk to you.