June 20, 2011
By Adam Bink
WBEN is a popular radio station back home in the Buffalo area, one I listened to all the time as a kid, and one to which my family still does. I always liked it, until today, when Alan Bedenko of WNYMedia told me their website is currently publishing this poll:
This is just unacceptable. Four choices for “gay marriage sucks”, and the only one that’s available for support is listed at the bottom, and it’s a milquetoast “I’m ‘ok’ with gay marriage”? And this is supposed to be fair? Online polls are not scientific, but this is just so far over the line it’s not even reasonable, it’s a poll that is so badly designed it appears it’s intended to elicit certain results. The other problem is, not only does it influence the individual taking the poll, but most people take a poll from a station like WBEN as fair, and so when the results are reported on the air, and the people listening to it talk about it, it unfairly influences those undecided in the debate.
Dear Mr. Wenger,
I am a native Western New Yorker, having been born and raised in the Town of Tonawanda and attended Ken-Ton public schools until I went to the University of Rochester. My family still lives there, and News 930 WBEN is one of our favorite sources for news.
However, I was outraged that WBEN chose to publish what is an unfair representation of all sides in the debate over same-sex marriage in a poll on your website today. Four choices for opposing granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples? The choice for equality is at the bottom, and is a milquetoast “I’m ‘ok’ with gay marriage?” I realize online web polls are not scientific, but this is so far over the line that the results are not only NOT a reasonable representation of opinion in Western New York, but will unfairly influence the debate when News 930 hosts and other news anchors around the region, members of the public, etc. discuss the results of this poll and how publicly opinion is wildly against legalizing same-sex marriage. This is unfair and unreasonable. Whatever one’s views on this issue, your poll does not give fair representation to all sides.
At Courage Campaign, our 700,000 members nationwide, including a significant portion in Western New York, are very concerned about both equality for same-sex couples and media bias. I have published a post on our blog alerting readers to this issue. WBEN needs to take down this poll and revise it immediately, if it insists on polling at all.
Director of Online Programs, Courage Campaign
And for all of you newfound Twitterers who asked Sen. Greg Ball to support equality, News 930 WBEN’s Twitter feed is @NewsRadio930. Here’s an example of what you can Tweet:
Tell Western NY @NewsRadio930 to stop unfairly polling on same-sex marriage http://bit.ly/kGEPxn via @buffalopundit
Update: You can also sign and retweet this act.ly petition just started:
Update 2: Did anyone else notice something weird? The total vote counts dropped from over 1,300 with 59% support for equality to below 1,000 and equality is losing.
Alan Bedenko has screenshots:
Now, it’s back up to where it was before (funny enough, after Alan tweeted to WBEN about it):
Update 3: As of 3:33 PM EST, the one pro-equality choice is winning with 2,588 votes and 72% of the vote. Nice voting!