June 08, 2004


Sales of The Guardian are collapsing like so many pre-war Guardian predictions:

Between April 2003 and April 2004, the daily sales of The Guardian fell by 17,357, or -4.35%. The average daily sale is now only 381,449, which is but 14.32% of the quality national daily newspaper market, or a minuscule 3.14% of the total daily national newspaper market. And this is despite a large increase in the number of weekly supplements issued by the paper (including the new 'Life' supplement on science).

The story for The Observer is perhaps worse. The average Sunday sale is currently 450,119, which represents 16.30% of the quality Sunday national newspaper market and a mere 3.55% of the total Sunday national newspaper market. Losses on April 2003 were 5,363 (-1.18%). But the problems appear to be accelerating, with losses in April 2004 on March 2004 looking worryingly bad at 2,138 (i.e., -0.47% in one month).

Guardian columnist Mark Lawson was the first to run the plastic turkey story. Now the evil bird is exacting its terrible revenge! (Incidentally, I recently contacted The Guardian seeking to interview Lawson. He sent me one e-mail, then ceased correspondence. Possibly he Googled me and became apprehensive.)

Speaking of our favourite Thanksgiving creature, screenwriter and cartoonist Ben Tripp joins the club of fools:

Journalists are falling over themselves to find a scandal they can expose first, thus securing the turf for future book rights. Sy Hersh scores big in Abu Ghreib! Washington Post breaks plastic turkey scandal! There's something dreadfully jejeune about the whole thing. What's so bold about gathering in a mob to pelt Bush with clinker bricks after he's hoist himself, petard-wise. If you want to attack a president, attack him when he's at his most powerful, you pusillanimous, dyslogiac rhyparographers! Pussies!

Funny thing is, if you run a general Google search for “plastic turkey”, the first article that turns up is this -- the Seattle Times version of the original turkey piece from the Washington Post. It doesn’t mention any plastic turkey. In fact, it clearly explains that the turkey was real, yet it’s obviously been massively linked to by anti-Bush obsessives convinced it provides evidence of that which it actually disproves.

Can’t these people read? When 3AW radio broadcaster Neil Mitchell got all turkeyish in a recent newspaper column, a reader sent an e-mail pointing out his mistake. This is the response she received, from Justin Smith, Mitchell’s producer:

A reporter for the Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com, broke the story of the fake turkey shortly after President Bush’s visit to Iraq. I’m sure the article is in their archive system.

Find that article, Justin. I'd love to read it.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 8, 2004 02:00 AM

Didn’t I say that the plastic turkey is the polycephalic plucked serpent Ghidra of the left? Reds rush in where Godzilla fears to tread!

Posted by: ForNow at June 8, 2004 at 02:41 AM

The Observer actually distinguishd itself amongst left wing publications by supporting the deposing of Saddam. The Guardian did not, however it was not outrageously onesided as the Independent or the Mirror.

Interesteingly, the "quality" Independent's circulation has gone up in tune with viralent Pilger and Fisk polemics, whilst the Mirror (working class tabloid has plummetted).

It just goes to show the workers have more sense and feel for the real world than the chardonnay set.

Posted by: Matthew at June 8, 2004 at 03:24 AM

Who's Jason?

Posted by: mh at June 8, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Jason is Justin. Fixed.

Posted by: tim at June 8, 2004 at 07:10 AM

George Galloway's looney Respect Coalition issued a press release (for want of a better term, seeing as it was ignored by all the press), accusing a Nick Cohen article in Sunday's Observer of "racist smears" and "false and defamatory accusations". In fact most of Cohen's article was an attack on the far-right BNP, with just a couple of paragraphs about Respect, but they're notoriously touchy about any sort of criticism.

They also called the Observer a "pro-war and pro-occupation newspaper" - the Respect Coalition uses this term to distinguish itself from other British anti-war parties such as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, who were against the war originally but believed, once it had started, that the best outcome was a swift Coalition victory and who believe that the Coalition now has a duty to maintain order, rebuild etc.

Posted by: wardytron at June 8, 2004 at 08:21 AM

Since the Respect Coalition is an offshoot of the Socialist Workers Party, and since the last issue of the Socialist Worker newspaper carried an article about the jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, which referred to him as a "fearless anti-Zionist", and since Atzmon's fearless anti-Zionism consists of saying things like "the form of Holocaust
denial that really bothers me is the denial of the on-going Palestinian Holocaust...this Holocaust is committed by the Jewish state with the support of world Jewry. This Holocaust, despite being well documented, is largely ignored. This is the most serious form of Holocaust denial. Moreover, I would suggest that the Zionists promote the issue of Holocaust denial so as to spread heavy smoke in an attempt to hide their own atrocities. The Zionists are the ones to be blamed for committing a holocaust and being the first to deny it", well maybe it was just Cohen's surname that Respect didn't like.

Posted by: wardytron at June 8, 2004 at 08:38 AM

I rather like how the circulation figures are have a sub-category for 'quality' newspapers. I'm guessing that The Sun is not included in this category.

Posted by: Dave at June 8, 2004 at 12:44 PM

Good on you Tim for persevering against the turkey conspiracy.

Perhaps we should make a documentary JFK-style as to what really happened.

We could interview detectives and witnesses, who will speculate whether it was really worth the effort in finding a plastic turkey to serve to the troops in front of the cameras, when its even easier to serve a real turkey.

Posted by: Jono at June 8, 2004 at 01:06 PM

Fear not, for Justin's search is over:

The Bird Was Perfect But Not For Dinner

As Tim has pointed out on numerous occasions, the word plastic does not appear once.

Posted by: Dave at June 8, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Across the pond, the circulations of New York Times, LA Times are down, USA Today's are flat, Wall Street Journal's are up.

Posted by: ic at June 8, 2004 at 06:22 PM

Hardly wait for the year when the left wing scripes vanish and the vultures of the cruel eye dominate, no soft speak, just crunch and lip smacking reality, so english speaking mortals slaves to this old master welcomed by the heinous mush of followers trampling on wise earth gladly devouring.

Posted by: karin at June 9, 2004 at 09:43 AM