Fox News to Network’s Political Team: Don’t Cite ‘Nonsense’ Internet Polls

“These quickie click items do not meet our editorial standards,” network VP Dana Blanton says

Sean Hannity
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Fox News sent a memo to political show staffers on Tuesday reminding talent and producers that unscientific online polls don’t meet the network’s editorial standards, according to Business Insider.

Donald Trump touted numerous polls that proclaimed him the winner of Monday’s presidential debate, but Fox News vice president of public-opinion research Dana Blanton feels Internet polls are “just for fun” and not worthy of mention on air.

“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 wrote in the memo obtained by Business Insider.

An insider told TheWrap that Blanton, who is well respected in the polling industry, regularly sends memos to the staff of political shows for editorial guidance.

“Another problem — we know some campaigns/groups of supporters encourage people to vote in online polls and flood the results,” Blanton wrote. “These quickie click items do not meet our editorial standards.”

When contacted by TheWrap, a Fox News spokesperson noted that the two hosts who have cited the Internet polls in question, Brian Kilmeade and Sean Hannity, are on the opinion-side of the network.

The theory is that opinion-based shows such as “Hannity” are free to mention Internet polls, while shows such as “Shepard Smith Reporting” are required to meet the network’s editorial standards. CNN’s media guru Brian Stelter published a column on Tuesday detailing the issue with Trump’s claim that he “won every poll.”

“Meaningful national polls seek a diverse sample of respondents. The goal is to accurately represent the views of the country by accounting for differences in age, gender, party affiliations and other factors,” Stelter wrote. “That’s not possible when anonymous web users fill out online surveys. People choose whether to participate, and they can vote multiple times, further warping the results.”

CNN and Fox News don’t normally agree on too many issues, but the rival networks appear to have found a common ground on this topic.

“News networks and other organizations go to great effort and rigor to conduct scientific polls — for good reason,” Blanton continued in the memo. “They know quick vote items posted on the web are nonsense, not true measures of public opinion.”

Blanton added a note about the type of polls preferred by the network: “Fox News policy is to focus on non-partisan telephone polls (with both landlines & cellphones) that use live interviewers, and random digit-dial sampling techniques — a methodology that enables everyone an equal chance of being interviewed.”