First, a correction. As corrected in the post below, it was CNBC managing editor Allen Wastler, not political editor John Harwood, who took an Internet poll down. Wastler said:
Now Paul is a fine gentleman with some substantial backing and, by the way, was a dynamic presence throughout the debate , but I haven't seen him pull those kind of numbers in any "legit" poll. Our poll was either hacked or the target of a campaign. So we took the poll down.Harwood actually disagreed with the decision, saying:
If you sponsor an online poll as we did, you accept the results unless you have very good reason to believe something corrupt has occurred--just as democracies accept results on Election Day at the ballot box without compelling evidence of corruption. I have no reason to believe anything corrupt occurred with respect to our poll.
Obviously, there is room for disagreement over the standard for the relevance of an online poll. In fact, if you want to have a discussion about the meaningless of Internet polls, I'm there.
But I don't think you can argue with the conclusion of the security researcher in the story, that a botnet was involved. But comments on this blog have gone so far as to say:
Univ. of Alabama Birmingham's Gary Warner (the researcher quoted in the story) has this interesting connection: President, Birmingham InfraGard. InfraGard is a public private partnership between the FBI and those who are in charge of protecting our Nation's Critical Infrastructures, ...And when a candidate just happens to benefit from arguably criminal activity, I think it is appropriate -- given our history with Swiftboating, for example -- to at least ask if the campaign is completely unaware of the activity. I don't think this makes bad journalism, warmongerism or part of a conspiracy to silence candidate Paul.