Patterico's Pontifications

4/16/2006

Hiltzik Mocks Hewitt’s Site Meter

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 9:59 am



Michael Hiltzik bitterly mocks Hugh Hewitt because Hewitt’s blog has a lower average daily audience today than it had on a random day in February, hand-picked by Hiltzik. From this, Hiltzik draws grand conclusions about the public’s appetite for Hewitt’s brand of conservatism.

And how has the liberal Hiltzik’s hit count fared over the same period of time? We have no idea. He doesn’t have a Site Meter.

P.S. I left the above observation in a comment on Hiltzik’s site. He responded by claiming that his Site Meter is the daily circulation of his newspaper. I hated to be the one to break the news to Hiltzik: that not every reader of the L.A. Times reads him.

UPDATE: Independent Sources effectively debunks Hiltzik’s post as not only logically flawed, but also a rank distortion as a factual matter. They have Hugh’s traffic in graph form, and they dare readers to find a 20 percent drop. It just isn’t there . . . unless you cherry-pick your starting and ending points in a highly misleading fashion, as Hiltzik appears to have done.

Go look at the graph, and ask yourself: Who are you going to believe? Michael Hiltzik? Or your lying eyes?

UPDATE x2: Armed Liberal wonders why Hiltzik didn’t link Hewitt’s actual Site Meter. His conclusion: because Hiltzik is dishonest, and linking Hewitt’s actual Site Meter would have put the lie to Hiltzik’s claims.

17 Responses to “Hiltzik Mocks Hewitt’s Site Meter”

  1. Powerline espouses a brand of conservatism similar to Hewitt’s and they’re doing just fine. Averaging about 2.1 million hits a month over the past year — up from 1.8 million last April.

    Allah (4ba106)

  2. Here’s the SiteMeter for Captain Ed, another righty blogger frequently mentioned in the same breath with Hugh. Ed had a phenomenal month last April (probably because of his Canadian election coverage) and a slow month in May, but since June ’05, he’s been holding steady. If you average it all out, it looks like he’s gained about 50K hits a month over time (from roughly 800K to 850K).

    And finally, here’s Malkin, who actually has some differences with Hewitt but is close enough to him politically to warrant mention here. Res ipsa loquitur.

    Allah (4ba106)

  3. The post you linked to doesn’t say it’s one randome day. It says he’s tracked Hewitt over a two-month periuod and the decline has been steady. How do you explain that? Also, wasn’t he just responding to Hewitt’s point that his newspaper’s circulation decline reflected its politics? As a commenter on his site said, turnabout is fair play. If Hewitt claims the newspaper’s losing readers because it’s too liberal, it sure looks like Hewitt’s losing readers because he’s a conservative crackpot.

    [It doesn’t *say* it’s a random day, but it appears to be nonetheless. Hiltzik offers no statistically sound justification for picking that day. — P]

    Nofanofcablecos (a4f90b)

  4. Oh for heaven’s sake how old is Hiltzik? That is some seriously juvenile crap.

    OK, so using Hiltzik’s logic, Hewitt’s actual ‘audience’ includes his radio show and his books. Right? Must be, if Hiltzik’s ‘site meter’ is the daily circulation of the LATimes.

    [It’s worse than that. People who read Hugh’s books and listen to his radio show are, like readers of his blog, interested in what *Hugh* has to say. Most people who read the LAT aren’t reading it for *Hiltzik*. I bet most of them are reading the funnies, the horoscope, the sports pages, and maybe the headlines on the front page. It makes more sense to compare the paper to the total listenership of every radio station in the country that runs Hugh’s show. That listenership may listen to Hugh and may not — just as LAT readers may read Hiltzik or may not. Or, of course, we could also compare apples to apples by directly comparing Hugh’s Site Meter to Hiltzik’s. (Though Hiltzik seems to have made it clear that he won’t install one.) — Patterico]

    And BTW, Hewitt is hardly a reactionary ultra right wing kook. He is fairly good example of a Christian Conservative though. Really, one of the problems I have with newspapers these days is their inability to get the facts right and their liberal use of pejorative adjectives, an example of which is the label he puts on Hewitt.

    I’m no fan of Hewitt BTW, but really. What is it, does Hiltzik consider himself the LATimes designated hitter assigned to belittle anyone that criticises the Times? Does the LATimes think this is the path to success or something?

    [I think he wants to be the new Robert Scheer, and move from business to the op-ed page. I’m speculating, but that’s my guess. — P]

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  5. The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik Abuses Web Stats For Fun and Profit

    Patterico points us to Independent Sources nemisis Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, who uses precisely two data points to prove to his satisfaction that Hugh Hewitt’s audience is declining — by 20% in two months, according to his …

    Independent Sources (dd41d6)

  6. Hiltzik’s tactic is either devious or ignorant. For example, Hewitt’s visit figures for 1,2,and 3/2006 look at least as good as for 10,11, and 12/2005, and the actual courses month to month look the same for these respective periods, with relatively high points in Oct. [higher in Sept.] then again in Jan. [higher than Sept.], followed by progressive monthly declines. So this monthly declining trend has occurred before, then recovered to the previous height. And why, then, pick on a week in April compared to a week in Feb., instead of a week in Dec. compared to a week in Oct.? [April is not even over, but it looks like its figures will be as good as December’s.]

    It’s useless to make any valid conclusions about Hewitt’s popularity from the site meter figures, except perhaps that so far they haven’t changed much. There is too little data, and especially dramatic or significant data accumulated.

    But Hiltzik is definitely showing a pattern of either ignorance or deceit, highlighted for me in his Costa Mesa post where he claimed that the Social Security Trustees said something about the long term solvency of SS by means of the table he referred to, which they explicitly said they were saying nothing about.

    Possibly Hiltzik did not read the intro. to the SS table. Possibly he did not look at the yearly site meter graph for Hewitt’s visits.

    J. Peden (390816)

  7. note: I went to “site meter’ linked at Hewitt’s own site under “credits”, found by clicking on the 9 million figure below to get the data and graphs I’m referring to. [I’m not link competent yet.]

    J. Peden (390816)

  8. First time I have seen “sedulous” turned into dirty word. (Or is it “remora-like” of me to say so?)

    nk (4cd0c2)

  9. Does Mr Hiltzik understand that site meters are free?

    Newspapers use misleading numbers all the time. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a quarter or sixth page blurb it uses, to tell its readers that it reaches more people every day than the combined audience of all of the local radio stations. Well, maybe it does, but, in radio, while you can frequently not listen to the commercials, your ear still hears them; the ads in the Inquirer can easily be skipped completely, since they often occupy page after page after page, especially on Thursday and Friday.

    Further, I’ll never see an ad in the Style section, while there’s a chance I might come across it in Local or Sports or the front section; the editors know that there are plenty of people like me who only read some sections, but they aren’t going to mention that part, either.

    Of course, while this visit counts as “one” on your main count, depending upon the site meter you use, it also counts individual page views, something the newspapers can’t tabulate.

    Dana (a90377)

  10. […] Apparently not much. Read Patterico. Read Hiltzik. Ask yourself – is this a smart move? (Better yet, read them in reverse order). […]

    Blue Crab Boulevard » Blog Archive » Round Three (a177fd)

  11. My trackbacks seem to be acting up today. I linked this one.

    http://bluecrabboulevard.com/2006/04/16/round-three/

    Gaius

    Gaius Arbo (13d20d)

  12. I always love it when a “journalist” goes after a blogger and the blogger returns fire.

    It’s pretty fun to watch. In a cruel, cat-and-mouse sort of way.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  13. As a journalist and a blogger let me just say that I am tired of people who get their check from MSM (like Hewitt) marketing themselves as the anti-MSM.
    When he gives up the radio gig and blogs full-time.
    As for LAT, paid circulation 843,432 — or more than the unpaid hits of Daily Kos (540,623) and Instapundit (125,653)

    Don Surber (1e4911)

  14. Don,

    Think you’re off track on this one.

    When did talk radio become MSM?

    If Hugh gets hired to replace Katie Couric as CBS anchor, then you might have a point.

    Good point about respective circulations/viewerships, though. Shows there’s still a tremendous amount of work to do to overcome the ignorance brought on by MSM reliance.

    CalDevil (4d3198)

  15. As any student of history knows, Hiltzik’s recent intentional misinterpretation of data is reminiscent of Stalin’s five-year plans.

    Steve Donohue (2d2535)

  16. My wife and I pay for the Sunday LA Times, but only because it has more sales adds than the San Bernardino Sun.

    Reality (e11db7)

  17. I believe Hugh caused Mr. Hiltzik both personal and professional damage some time back because of not only Mr. Hiltzik published bias, but his Modus Operendi of using flawed, if not dishonest, facts and reasoning.

    I used to call Hugh’s show when it was on KFI and some after he relaunched on KRLA (formerly KIEV) and the Salem radio network.

    If Hugh or Duane are reading this, The Pack is going to the Super Bowl. Where are the Browns?

    PCD (5c49b0)


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