by John Hawkins | August 21, 2003 2:36 am
You know, I like Michael Fumento’s work, so much so that I actually interviewed him. Because I enjoy his writing, think he does important work, and since he was nice enough to do an interview with me, I’m naturally quite hesitant to rip into him. However, his latest comments about bloggers and the blogosphere are so unbelievably obnoxious that they deserve a response. After all, if you’re taking shots at bloggers, you’re taking a shot at me. Here’s part of Fumento’s pompous & thin skinned response to some bloggers who dared to criticize him…
“In reality, with very few exceptions (perhaps ten at most), nobody gives a squat about what bloggers say except other bloggers. That, indeed, is why they can’t publish anywhere but on their own sites and are obsessed with linking to other sites in hopes of a reciprocal link. Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Drudge, and a few others can actually influence outsiders. Others have no influence beyond their readers but they still have lots of readers because they have interesting things to say. But other than that, bloggers are basically in a giant chat room and may as well be discussing the meaning of Star Trek Episode VI — while typing in Klingon. That’s why they call it a “blogosphere;” they’re in their own tiny little universe.
Essentially these guys are Karaoke singers. Yes, blogging has lowered the bar — so low that literally any idiot with a keyboard can boast that his material is on the Internet. He is beholden to no one for quality or accuracy, and need not have a single reader. For all the talk about “the distribution of the old media,” it’s not just that my column goes out to over 400 newspapers but that about 20 of them instantly post my column to their own websites, each of which gets more hits in five minutes than the average blogger probably gets in a week. In fact, bad things links to two of those sites! Other newspapers post my weekly column to their websites when they run me in the print edition. Further, I personally post each of my pieces to my own website, which again probably gets more traffic than over 95 percent of weblogs precisely because non-bloggers just aren’t interested in the things that interest your average Internet newshound. And finally, a lot of bloggers link to my stories.
It’s true that more and more people, myself included, do get their information from the Internet. That’s why it’s probably of some importance that if you enter “Michael Fumento” into Google you get over 5,000 hits or that if you go to my favorite news site, Google News, you’ll generally find all of my latest pieces.
Indeed, the whole Hailey thing shows just how impotent these people are. I was warned that since Hailey had so many “important” links I would be bombarded by readers firing shots not “across” my bow but directly at it. Instead I just got a few dud torpedoes. So hear ye bloggers: Enjoy your ego trip; but realize that’s all it is. It’s great that the Internet allows anybody to post their opinions, but don’t think that because you post yours anybody else cares. For the vast majority of you, nobody does.”
I’m really amazed that some fairly mild criticism from a couple of bloggers drove Fumento so wild that he felt compelled to throw this online temper tantrum to begin with. But since Fumento went out of his way to talk about what a big sack of nothing the blogosphere was, whereas he’s so wonderful and fantastic that the suicide rate goes up across North America every time his page is down, let me just put a few things Fumento said into perspective.
First off, since I’m not one of the 10 biggest blogs on the net, It’s fair to say that I wouldn’t qualify as one of those “few exceptions (perhaps ten at most)” that people care about. So let’s compare some of RWN’s numbers with the numbers for Fumento’s website.
Fumento points out, “that if you enter “Michael Fumento” into Google you get over 5,000 hits”. Since John Hawkins is a fairly common name, I thought I’d paste “Right Wing News” into Google and see how many hits it came up with. I got 31,600 results. But that’s no big deal, right?
So let’s compare Alexa rank. Michael Fumento’s page is the 334,932nd most read page on the internet. On the other hand, Right Wing News shows up in the 26,800 spot. Just to shed a little more light on the subject, when I did the Blogosphere Power Rankings a few months back, the 50th ranked page (the minimum to make the list) squeaked in almost 200,000 places above Fumento’s page at an Alexa rank of 136,929. That’s not bad for a bunch of blogs that “may as well be discussing the meaning of Star Trek Episode VI — while typing in Klingon.”
Furthermore, since Fumento actually has open statistics on his page, we can actually compare traffic. Fumento pulls an average of 178 visitors per day. As I write this at 1:57 AM, RWN, a blog written by one of those “idiot(s) with a keyboard,” already has 250 daily uniques, more than Fumento will pull in an average day. Moreover, if you compare Fumento’s numbers to those in NZ Bear’s Daily Traffic stats from blogs using Site Meter, Fumento would be in a tie for 222nd in the blogosphere. And remember, those are JUST from blogs using Site Meter. So you have to figure that there are at least 300-500 blogs pulling more traffic than Fumento’s website.
Now I’m sure Michael Fumento would point out that even if no one is reading his web page, he’s published in 400 newspapers & all of his latest material shows up at Google News. Ehr — if you have 400 newspapers publishing your material and Google News is feeding you too and you STILL have a minimal number of people reading your website, what does that say? Worse yet, if hundreds of unknowns on the web with zero mainstream media exposure are getting more traffic than you are, shouldn’t there be some editors scratching their heads and going, “Gee, is anyone actually reading this guy’s column? If not, why are we running it every week?”
Now I know I’ve said some pretty snarky things in this post, especially given that I was torn about writing it to begin with. But when Michael Fumento figuratively gave the blogosphere the middle finger, he flipped me off too and I didn’t particularly care for it.
Hat Tip: Instapundit.
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