I’ve had fun reading Michael Hiltzik in the past, mostly because he’s an interesting case of a major newspaper trying on the blog form. He manages, I think to combine the worst of both – the overweening arrogance of the MSM and the casual, fact-challenged style of much blogging. He’s sadly modeling himself on some weird hybrid of TBogg and Atrios, and under the impression that spittle-flecked indignation is what the personal voice of blogging is all about.
Hugh Hewitt has been hammering the Times, and suggesting that their circulation decline (3% year to year) is related to their political leanings (I’m doubtful that this is the whole or even the majority of the reason, but Hugh gets to make his argument).
Hiltzik replies with a typically classless slam at Hugh – suggesting that his blog traffic is down and implying that it’s his conservative stance that’s responsible.
Here’s what Michael says (links in original):
So I think it’s worthwhile to put our results in perspective by asking the question: How is Hugh’s blog doing? Luckily, he has provided us with the answer, thanks to Site Meter, a program he uses to track visits to his website. I’ve been keeping an eye on Hugh’s Site Meter, which appears on his home page, since early February. All I can say to him is: Uh-oh.
Back on February 11, when I began this project, Hewitt’s Site Meter showed there had been 295,874 visits over the previous seven days, for a daily average of 42,268. But by yesterday, April 13, the running seven-day count had declined to 238,782, for a daily average of only 34,112.
That’s a 19.3% decline in Hewitt’s visitor count over a span of only two months. The loss hasn’t been strictly in a straight line, but it has been steady.
Got that? Now click through on the ‘Site Meter’ link in the quote. Go ahead – I’ll wait.
You get the generic Site Meter home page.
Let me introduce Mr. Hiltzik to my little friend, the Internet. One of the things we do, typically, is to link directly to the thing we’re discussing, so that people can look for themselves and validate (or, in this case, invalidate) our claims. Here’s the actual link to Hugh’s Site Meter. Go ahead and click through and let me know if you see a secular decline.
I want to pile on, and suggest that while I’ve looked at some of Patrick’s more aggressive claims about Hiltzik’s intellectual honesty as a bit over the top, I was wrong – Hiltzik is just plain dishonest.
I can’t imagine another reason why – having look at the actual numbers from Sitemeter for Hugh’s site – he wouldn’t have included the link, except on the assumption that his readers would simply take his word for it.