March 10, 2004


The Guardian is actually proud that its idiotic Pentagon beat-up attracted a lot of attention:

The page loaded 456,671 times was a story, originally published by the Observer, about a secret Pentagon report which warned the Bush administration that global warming could destroy the American way of life as they knew it.

More lies; it wasn’t a Pentagon report. But let The Guardian enjoy its hit-filled day of glory:

It also predicted that Britain would become the new Siberia, but that probably wasn't the reason the story, reporting the contents of the Pentagon's work, became so popular. It became popular because in a week when the president pushed himself further to the right with his plans to amend the US constitution to outlaw gay marriage, an article that showed his conservative instincts on the environment to have been badly misjudged played very well with liberals.

You could tell this because every liberal with a weblog linked to the story, and when a story is trawled by the blogs traffic goes up; exponentially. Jane Perrone, Guardian Unlimited's weblog editor explains. "The key to a story's popularity amongst bloggers is if it's picked up by one of the dozen or so big hitters. These celebrity bloggers include Glenn Reynolds, Joshua Micah Marshall and Doc Searls."

Here’s Instapundit’s link. Note the, er, admiring tone. A large part of this story’s “popularity” was due to the blatant misreporting evident on even a casual reading; many linked to it as an example of The Guardian's stupidity. As Bill Herbert points out, “the paper's most popular piece is the one that got virtually every aspect of the story dead wrong.”

Lefty bloggers seem not to be bothered by this.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 10, 2004 02:18 AM

Love the Guardian's conclusion: "A word of advice though; if you do become an overnight internet publishing sensation, make sure you get your figures right. Otherwise no one will believe you."

How true...

Posted by: Boris at March 10, 2004 at 02:54 AM

Wow, they think people read it as news, when we're really just a bunch of trekkies.

Posted by: aaron at March 10, 2004 at 04:20 AM

And when they get hits on this column, they'll figure bloggers are just patting themselves on the back.

Posted by: aaron at March 10, 2004 at 04:35 AM

Not that "lefty bloggers" are an insular group or anything. Why, that delightful Dunlop fellow just wrote a swell piece at WebDiary ( with the major Australian bloggers. I don't think he left anyone out....(cue sound of other shoe dropping).

Admittedly, he did mention blogs like Gareth Parker, Yobbo and the libertarians.

(Actually, after reading statements like "Gareth is a journalism student in Perth whom I often argue with, but who always plays fair" and "The hallmark of John's writing is his ability to explain even complicated matters in a non-condescending but accessible way" I think maybe you're in there in an reverse sort of way - could it be that Tim Dunlop consider someone condescending and unfair?)

Posted by: jeremy at March 10, 2004 at 04:44 AM

I am indeed a lefty blogger, but you seem not to have bothered clicking on the link to see what I said about the Guardian's article in the first place....

Posted by: Kevin Drum at March 10, 2004 at 06:01 AM

So? The AB stinking C lies through it's teeth every day! When's someone going to do something about it?

Posted by: Kate at March 10, 2004 at 07:06 AM

Just as you don't seem to be too bothered by the lack of post 1992 WMD in Iraq. The commissioned pentagon report was interesting none the less and highlighted a need for more debate amongst the global warming naysayers such as yourself. What was really interesting were the authors who compiled the report, this was it's real weight. That's why lefty bloggers were excited and that's why you get stuck into them and not the substance of the report.

Posted by: ash at March 10, 2004 at 07:37 AM

Reminds me of a saying I disagree with: "There's no such thing as BAD publicity."

People who believe ALL publicity is good would also be happy about the hit rates for a web page. It wouldn't bother them if 75% of the hits were by people who concluded the article was a POS. It's a result of craving attention and not caring why you get it, just as long as attention is received.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at March 10, 2004 at 07:40 AM

G'day Kevin Drum,

The link leads to you (humourously) noting that you did not get enough credit for popularising the article. In your original link to the article you noted that the Guardian was hyping the story not that basically everything the Grauniad said about it was wrong (authors, status, security classification etc).

Tim comments that you don't seem to mind taking some credit for the immense web-popularity for the Gruadina's bogus story. Tim's comment seems valid - would you care to provide some detail as to why you feel misrepresented.

Posted by: Russell at March 10, 2004 at 07:57 AM


No one with any sense disputes climate change, it has been happening from the beginning. The argument is "are humans are affecting it?".

Posted by: Gary at March 10, 2004 at 08:53 AM

Of course humans are affecting it. So is everything else that happens on this planet. The important question is if humans are affecting it enough to matter. IMO, the issue is far from settled.

Posted by: rosignol at March 10, 2004 at 10:05 AM

What was really interesting were the authors who compiled the report, this was it's real weight.

Indeed, as Tim notes, it wasn't the Pentagon.

Heh heh, what was Greyhawk's take on that?

"So, are they scientists?"
"No, but they KNOW scientists. . ."

Posted by: Sortelli at March 10, 2004 at 10:28 AM

Tim, you write: "more lies; it wasn't a Pentagon report." It wasn't a secret one either. What it was, was a bag of bollocks from start to finish, but it fit an agenda, and in the wonderful facts-optional world of the bed-wetting Left, that's all that matters.

Posted by: David Gillies at March 10, 2004 at 11:16 AM