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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2006
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TOM WRIGHT

Cheney critics hijacked our Web site

I hadn't heard of Smirking-Chimp
.com until last week. Neither had I heard of DailyKos.com.

But then there are a zillion things about the Internet I don't know.

SmirkingChimp emerged in connection with the online poll we did about Vice President Dick Cheney's job performance.

The vice president was coming into Bush-friendly territory to campaign for a fellow Republican earlier this month. I thought a poll confirming the administration's popularity here would be a boost to Mr. Cheney's appearance at Celebration Arena at Priceville for U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville.

It wasn't. Voting began as soon as we posted the poll on THE DAILY Web site.

The results were bad for the vice president, who at that time hadn't even shot his hunting partner. I asked one of our Internet gurus if we reversed coding that sent pro-Cheney votes to the anti-Cheney side.

Nope, he said.

So we went with the results, emphasizing that it was unscientific and that only one vote was possible at any computer.

Cheney fans were skeptical. Some said we fudged the results because the newspaper is "liberal."

We think of ourselves as in the middle; however, we admit we are not
Cheney conservative. We do have integrity. We wouldn't intentionally mislead readers.

And that brings me back to Smirk
ingChimp and that other one.

Our guru did a post-polling investigation by looking at computer logs that were available several days later from our Internet provider. He decided these two anti-Cheney sites hijacked ours, which gave the poll visibility outside our regular online and print readers. Cheney bashers apparently voted.

Because no conservative Web sites or blogs linked to us, as they could have, the poll didn't get the same visibility with Bush/Cheney people.

"That's what usually happens but because it did not, we can assume this probably skewed the poll results" our guru, an avowed libertarian, said.

Because the poll was unscientific and because we still believe this is Cheney country, I am going to arbitrarily reverse the results. But I can't do anything about the comments that went against Mr. Cheney. Those were local and verified. And there were none in praise of him, although one did criticize our poll.

So, here are the new final results to the question about the vice president's job performance:

Excellent 658

Good 30

Fair 10

Poor 87.

Take that, Smirking-Chimp and DailyKos.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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