Cathy Seipp readers — see additional information in Update 2 at the bottom of this post.
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 calculation. Hiltzik’s theory? It’s Hewitt’s
… peculiar brand of reactionary conservatism has become increasingly marginalized on the fringes of American political life. Perhaps the cluttered ugliness of his site design turns people off. Maybe it’s his sedulous devotion, like a sucking remora fish, to the imploding George W. Bush. Maybe it’s his otiose prose.
Of course, any time Hiltzik gets near a statistic, we pay attention, since he serially abuses them. And it looks like that’s what’s happening here. Here is a traffic graph of HughHewitt.com from Alexa*:
(see it live here)
I defy anyone to see a 20% decline in this data. Alexa summarizes the chart as a 2% increase in HughHewitt.com’s average reach over the last three months (to 124 per million). His traffic rank remains essentially unchanged as well (3 month change of -415 to his current rank of 18,957).
In short — Hiltzik’s premise doesn’t hold water.
… my “site meter” is the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which says we sell something in the neighborhood of 800-900,000 papers every weekday.
Hiltzik ain’t telling us. But we can make some guesses. Alexa does not break out goldenstateblog.latimes.com from the main latimes.com data, but it does tell us
Where do people go on latimes.com?
* latimes.com – 89%
* theenvelope.latimes.com – 6%
* games.latimes.com – 1%
* lakersblog.latimes.com – 1%
* email.latimes.com – 1%
* stylescenes.latimes.com – 1%
* Other websites – 1%
Note who’s missing? 1% of the LA Times’ traffic goes to “other,” which is where Hiltzik is lumped. The LA Times has a daily reach of 2,770 per million; the “other” 1% would be 28 per million. Let’s double it since some main site visitors will visit the “other” group in their 2.5 page views per visit — so 56 out of 1 million internet users see the “other” LA Times sites on a normal day. If Hiltzik gets half — a giant stretch — his reach of 28 is a fraction of Hewitt’s 124. So in the blog-as-proxy-for-political-ideology argument, Hiltzik’s on the losing side.
Unfortunately, we can’t see Hiltzik’s trend over time. But it’s easy to add Site Meter, or Statcounter. How about it, Michael?
Update: Armed Liberal at Winds of Change: “(Hiltzik) manages, I think to combine the worst of both – the overweening arrogance of the MSM and the casual, fact-challenged style of much blogging.”
Update 2: If you want to see the post that got Patterico curious about Hiltzik’s pseudonymous comments, it’s here. Hiltzik posted as nofanofcablecos two days before he wrote a column on the topic. We later admitted we were probably wrong to ID him, but it got Patterico thinking about comments on his own blog and elsewhere. A summary of our Hiltzik coverage is here. And Hiltzik has been annoying us for quite some time — see all our posts here.
* If you’re unfamiliar with Alexa, it records site visits by users who’ve loaded the Alexa toolbar in their browser. The sample may be somewhat more geeky than the ordinary internet user, but the methodology also gets around some of the problems of non-cookied measurement tools like SiteMeter.
Similar Independent Sources posts:
- Memo to L.A.Times Online Staff: Also, Try Wearing Fedoras: With L.A. Observed reporting that the Los Angeles Times' online operation is looking for "a different kind of online news operation," we've got a sugg ...
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