Ham if I had been in your shoes I woulda pointed out the old saying 'the customer is always right' and told him that if the people buying the magazine want him to write an article on the consistancy of bat guano then he better take up spelunking.
I was in a meeting once with the publisher. One of our readers had called him and was arguing about an article due to be published. It degenerated into an "F-you!" and "No, F-you!" shouting match on speakerphone. The publisher finally yelled at this guy, saying "You're just an over-glorified bus driver! F-YOU!!!" and slammed down the phone.
Flash forward a few weeks. We're at a major convention. I'm walking the floor with the publisher. And who is walking toward us? Yep, the caller. Inwardly, I said, "Oh, S***!!!" The publisher runs up to the caller, holds out a magazine, and tries to sweet talk this guy: "Look how great the article turned out!" The caller grabbed the magazine, threw it on the floor, stepped on it, and ground it into the carpet. He stuck a finger in the publisher's face and said, "This is what I think of you and your F-ing magazine!!!"
After the caller walked away, the publisher turned to me in total innocence and said, "Why did he do that?"
Yes, they are still in business! And with the same publisher. But, they don't do the "3rd Party" surveys any more.
He wasn't a bad manager, per say. He just had the basic view that everything he did was perfect, and anyone -- inside the organization, or outside -- who criticized him, was "crazy" and "on the fringe", so to speak.
Funny. He wrote a lot about emerging and developing technology. However, he hated technology himself. It took him until 1999-2000 to actually start using a desktop computer (he went on vacation and we hijacked his typewriter). Also, he didn't start using a cell phone until 2003-2004. He called it a "fad". We finally went out and bought him one. He spent the next week calling everyone in his Rolodex (yes, still had one) telling them how great cell phones were. He could actually call people from his car! Imagine that!
Don't get me wrong: Personally, a great guy. Professionally, very 1-sided in his views and ignored his staff (unless they beat him over the head with something). Still, he must have done something right. He's still in business after 50 years.
Wally seems to be deeply implicated here (assuming he's part of the "your input" as the setup suggests). He could design a proper test if he wanted to; the question is, did he actively foul it up or passively let the PHB do it through ignorance?
Either way this is pretty much open war between Dilbert and Wally - though since it's a Sunday strip I suspect it won't be followed through (alas).