Right-wing outlets tout post-debate Drudge poll that 4chan users had gamed

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Users of the far-right message board 4chan organized to rig a Drudge Report online poll following the July 30 Democratic presidential debate. Multiple right-wing outlets touted the results. 4chan users similarly rigged previous post-debate Drudge polls. 

After the first night of the CNN debate, users on 4chan’s “/pol/” message board shared the poll and urged others to vote for author and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson.

One user cheered that the message board was “rigging the Drudge poll,” calling it “a good thing.”

It is unsurprising that 4chan users would attempt to rig this online poll, because there has been widespread reporting about how they have done it multiple times before -- and will again, regardless of the candidates in the debate. Last month, users on the message board targeted Drudge polls after both parts of the first Democratic presidential debate to vote for candidates Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, along with Williamson. And in May, users on the message board manipulated a Danish tabloid's online poll about Denmark’s then-upcoming elections.

And yet, multiple right-wing outlets wrote up the poll’s results as meaningful. Breitbart touted it in a headline. Media Research Center claimed the poll showed that “the public has spoken,” and organization vice president Dan Gainor wrote an op-ed on FoxNews.com citing the poll as proof of Williamson’s supposed post-debate rise. Gainor’s op-ed even led FoxNews.com.