Now this is something you don’t see every day: Media outlet does an Internet poll about a movie star, and then claims that friends of the star intentionally skewed the results of the poll to make the star look good.
As amazing as it might seem, this is exactly what representatives of Parade magazine – yeah, that thing that’s stuck in your Sunday papers along with all the advertisements and coupons you typically throw in the gargage without reading – are claiming according to a New York Post piece Tuesday (hat tip to HuffnPuff). It appears Parade recently ran an online poll asking whether Cruise was to blame for his failing public image or the media, and the results displeased the media outlet doing the questioning: “A shocking 84 percent of respondents blamed the press.”
As you can imagine, Parade being a member of said press didn’t like the poll’s outcome. So, it began investigating how the answers could have been different from what they wanted…er, expected. According to a Parade spokesperson:
"'We at Parade found this a little bit fishy, so we did some investigating. We found out more than 14,000 (of the 18,000-plus votes) that came in were cast from only 10 computers! One computer was responsible for nearly 8,400 votes alone, all blaming the media for Tom's troubles.'”
Are you shocked and appalled? Expecting Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to go on the House floor demanding an investigation? The spokesperson continued:
“‘We also discovered that at least two other machines were the sources of inordinate numbers of votes. It seems these folks (whoever they may be) resorted to extraordinary measures to try to portray Tom in a positive light for the Parade.com survey. There is even a chance they wrote a special ‘bot' program for the sole purpose of skewing the results, rather than casting the votes by hand on a computer.’"
Ah. The old “special bot program to skew poll results” trick. As you might expect, Team Cruise is mum on the subject: “Cruise spokesman Paul Bloch told us, ‘I know nothing about the poll, so we have nothing to comment on.’"To be sure, the only thing really shocking about this story is that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld aren’t implicated in the conspiracy. Oh, that’s right – this is that other New York paper.