I am no Woodward and Bernstein. Heck, I am not even Geraldo Rivera’s belly lint, but Spin’s Vixenella knows agenda-driven media bias when it splatters in her face. What is Spin’s Vixenella ranting about now? The soap industry “press,” a multi-billion dollar a year business with numerous publications dedicated to covering all things soap opera. Are any of them more than a propaganda arm for the networks? Today, Spin’s Vixenella is not so sure, and she wants some answers.
Nearly two decades ago, Spin’s Vixenella made Soap Opera Digest (SOD) her soap magazine of choice and has long maintained a subscription. SOD always appeared to have the most reliable, timely soap news coupled with some hard-hitting opinion pieces, and periodically a few serious features aimed at analyzing soaps and their societal impact.
As it turns out, the online versions of SOD and Soap Opera Weekly (SOW) are owned by the same media conglomerate, Source Interlink Media, LLC. The two magazines share an interactive website where soap fans are encouraged to actively provide their thoughts and opinions by participating in polls and posting comments. Naturally, all this fan participation brings visitors daily to their website, increasing their ad revenue, filling their corporate coffers, etc.
On June 10, 2008, Spin’s Vixenella stumbled upon a SOD/SOW online instant poll asking "Who Is The Right Man for General Hospital’s Maxie?” Firmly convinced Damien Spinelli is the only “right” choice for Miss Maxie Jones, The Vixenella was naturally intrigued and took a closer look at the poll. At once, both shocked and appalled, Spin’s Vixenella questioned the poll’s construct and its biased “choices.” You guessed it, before daybreak on June 11, the tireless Vixenella fired off an email to the SOD/SOW Online Editor.
Dear SOD/SOW Online Editor:
I am a long-time subscriber to SOD magazine. As a General Hospital fan, I am confused and offended by your online instant “Snap Poll” asking "Who Is The Right Man for Maxie?"
The choices SOD has provided are:
3. Matt Hunter (Jason Cook, Shelle Reunion)
While I believe choices #1 and #2 are legitimate, I am troubled by choice #3 for a variety of reasons, not the least of which, this is a character who has not yet been introduced to the GH audience. How can I make an informed choice about Maxie’s “Mr. Right,” if I know nothing about the character whatsoever? Upon what information should I base my decision? At this point, I only know this character's name. For all I know, he is a psycho, serial killer, mob boss puppy-kicker, in which case I would not believe him to be the "right man" for Maxie.
In addition, what message does your “Snap Poll” send to fans of actors currently on GH who have actually had interaction with the Maxie character? In essence, your poll asks whether a new character, sight unseen, would be better for Maxie than two popular characters who are already on the canvas. I personally find that offensive to both Spinelli and Johnny fans and to the actors who labor tirelessly in these roles. It seems insulting to them as actors and to their fans for SOD to ask in essence, wouldn't "somebody … anybody" be better for Maxie than either of them?
Finally, I am most put off by the "Shelle Reunion" aspect of your “Snap Poll” choice #3. I only know who or what "Shelle" is because I have made it my business to find out; however, I can assure you there are many GH and ABC Daytime fans who have never watched one second of Days of Our Lives (DOOL) and would have no idea who or what "Shelle" is. Fans of GH know who Maxie is. We watched her grow up. Maxie was never on DOOL, so choice #3 is invalid and meaningless. Yet, the effect of providing choice #3 and couching it as a "Shelle Reunion" has apparently garnered support, apparently from DOOL fans voting in your poll who fondly remember the characters Shawn and Belle (affectionately referred to as “Shelle”). I submit those interested in a "Shelle Reunion" should implore Days of Our Lives to give them one. But, that is not an appropriate option for this GH instant poll.
Sadly, DOOL fans yearning for their "Shelle Reunion" have mistakenly been enticed to vote in a poll where there is no possibility for a "Shelle Reunion." General Hospital has had the character Maxie Jones since her birth nearly two decades ago. Now, we will apparently have a new male character, but his name is not Shelle. To intimate to DOOL fans they can tune in to General Hospital for a “Shelle Reunion” is patently unfair to them and to GH fans of Maxie Jones.
I realize these instant polls are strictly fun, non-scientific polls. I even understand these polls have no influence whatsoever on network decision-makers. However, these polls do mean something to the morale of these characters’ fans. This particular instant poll was so badly conceptually flawed as to render its outcome meaningless. I urge the poll be immediately removed; the results invalidated, and a more appropriate poll with existing GH characters be put in its place. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Update: Two full weeks later, still no response from SOD, and now their erroneous poll results are hitting the newsstands, confusing and misleading fans.
Forget “hanging chads,” stay tuned for Part Two as Spin’s Vixenella explores the dark underbelly of soap publication “instant polls.”