Fixing Polls: An Open Letter to MSNBC.com
Sep 16, 2000, 18:36 (137 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)
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This letter was sent to the management of MSNBC. In light of
the blatant poll-fixing at MSNBC, I would suggest you do the same.
The letter was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, TechNews@MSNBC.com,
World@MSNBC.com, and Nightly@NBC.com. --Kevin Reichard
At least we were open about asking our readers to vote for
Linux, but to rig an online poll is something that MSNBC should
worry about: someone with a pro-Microsoft agenda is clearly
unleashing a bot to manipulate the results of the online poll. As
an impartial news-gathering organization, you have a responsbility
to present an unbiased forum. It strains creduility that 50,000
votes were tallied SOLELY for Microsoft 2000/ME on a Saturday
As you know, Microsoft has a track record of rigging online
polls; those attempts have been well-documented at Linux Today and
other Web sites. I actually expected more from MSNBC. It also casts
a pall on the credibility of NBC; getting into bed with Microsoft
probably was a bad move, but for NBC to allow Microsoft to alter
the news when it is not flattering to Microsoft is truly
As one of our readers pointed out:
> > Something is wrong with the poll.
> > Linus is dramatically dropping.
> Linux is in 3rd place with 18%.
Someone is definitively 'fixing' this poll. We've had a total of
nearly 30,000 votes in 2 days. This morning, in a few hours we're
reached almost 80,000 votes. Initially this surge was almost 100%
in favor of NT/W2K which had at some point 48% of the total. Now
the vote is being distributed to every OS but Linux. I'm amazed by
the scale of this manipulation. I guess we should have seen it
And as another reader pointed out:
How can it be?
Four hours ago I looked, and linux had 38% of around 37000 votes
and Windows NT had only 19%.
Now 4 hours later there are almost 100,000 votes and Linux is in
last place. For two days the voting had been slow and all of a
sudden Windows votes sky rocket. There is definitively someone
manufacturing the percentages!
Managing Editor, Linux/Open Source Channel