Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Does It Cross The Line For A Television Station To Conduct And Release A Poll So Close To A Local Election?

The rumor of the day is that WISH-TV will release the result of its mayoral poll tonight on its 11 pm. broadcast.

As local elections draw near, the media generally pulls back from hard-hitting stories in order to not be accused of influencing the election.  Sometimes the media goes overboard, refusing to go after legitimate stories because it is within a week or two of the election.

Given the local media philosophy, one has to wonder about the judgment of WISH-TV to conduct and release a poll just over five days before an election.  The reporting of election polls do influence the results of elections by influencing turnout.  For example, if Ballard appears to have a comfortable, double-digit lead in the poll, it could cause Republicans to stay home, affecting the outcome of races in close districts where Republican incumbents are desperate for GOP turnout.

By releasing the poll so close to the election, WISH-TV will have turned itself from a reporter of the news to a newsmaker that influences the outcome of an election. Is that proper for a local television station?  I think not.


varangianguard said...

And, this is different how? TV is so competitive now that fewer "holds" are barred.

I like the newest page appearance too. Better than the first alternative. ;)

M Theory said...

Do that many people still watch TV?

I have not watched TV more than two hours a month in years.

(I like to see Antiques Road Show when I'm home and it is on)

I truly believe television is a subtle form of mind control. They don't call it "programming" by accident.

Paul K. Ogden said...


TV gets a bad rap. There are tons of great quality, educational programming on TV. The fact some people choose to watch garbage doesn't change that.

Ben said...

Paul, It should have been done a month ago and now.It would have set the baseline and taken out the element that your talking about.I had heard that it was the Star and WTHR that was doing it,til WTHR backed out for financial reasons

Paul K. Ogden said...

Ben, I would agree with what you're saying. WISH probably thought someone else was doing it and then jumped in when no one (mostly likely WTHR/Indystar) didn't.

M Theory said...


And that great programming from TV? Well it is available on NETFLIX without the deluge of commericials from pharmaceutical companies!

Cato said...

In Indy, the government, the corporations and the media are one interest.

Nicolas Martin said...

What is the evidence that near-election polls change results?