In a memo sent out on Tuesday afternoon, Fox News executive Dana Blanton had to remind the network’s politics team and TV producers that they were not to use unscientific polls in their reporting.
She explained in the memo obtained by Business Insider, “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…Another problem — we know some campaigns/groups of supporters encourage people to vote in online polls and flood the results,” she wrote. “These quickie click items do not meet our editorial standards.”
The memo came after multiple Fox News hosts, including Trump’s best pal Sean Hannity, cited online polls from places like Drudge Report and Time as proof that Trump had won the debate. Further, the only scientific poll Hannity even mentioned on air after the debate Monday was the CNN poll, which he discredited by insinuating they are biased:
“I have it in front of me. Time magazine, Drudge Report, CNBC, The Hill, CBS — the only one that has Hillary winning is CNN, and they are the ‘Clinton News Network.”
It should be noted at this point that Hannity was not even correct. A poll commissioned by Breitbart showed Clinton winning (although by a narrow margin). A PPP poll likewise showed Clinton winning 52-40. As noted in the Business Insider article, a Morning Consult poll also showed Clinton winning the debate. In other words, there were four scientific polls taken post-debate, and all of them showed Clinton winning.
Steve Doocy on Fox and Friends continued the trend the next day, noting it was “fascinating” that Trump had won so many online polls, although he did at least note that the polls were unscientific.
Credit to Fox News brass for at least attempting to maintain some dignity, but it did not work. Even after the memo went out, Hannity continued grasping at straws and using these online polls as proof Donald Trump had won, making the comment, “You’ve got this list of polls, Donald Trump wins. You watch TV, Hillary Clinton wins.”
Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends apparently also missed the memo, telling Trump himself on Wednesday morning, “The online polls show you guys won in overwhelming margins.”
It really is fascinating that a major news network has to actually be told not to use unscientific online polls. Here at RedState, we do not have a multimillion dollar budget and do not hold ourselves out as the only objective news source on the planet – but we would never treat a Drudge Poll like a serious item of news. I mean, nobody treats Drudge Polls like actual news – they are obviously fake news designed to make Drudge readers feel good about participating in something, I guess.
What’s even more fascinating is that even after being reminded by their corporate brass that reporting fake news is not a wise choice, Fox News hosts continue to do it. Maybe part of the problem is that, so far as we can tell, neither Doocy, Kilmeade, or Hannity have in any way been punished for flouting basic editorial direction.
What will Hannity have to use after the next debate to prove to himself that Trump won? Maybe he can start a Twitter poll.