Every time they’re mentioned, an editor at Time sheds a tear

Time’s former “Blog of the Year,” the execrable PowerLine blog with which I share a state, has done it again: said something so stupid and so palpably false that I’m feeling a bit embarrassed about ragging on Oklahoma in my previous post—I should feel ashamed by association at being a Minnesotan. Check out Deltoid: down is up in the world of the Hindrocket.


  1. says

    I mentioned this in the comments over at Deltoid, but I think it bears repeating: The “failure” of Gore’s movie has become a talking point for the right. Expect the wingers to harp on this constantly, because it is their “reality”. (The world is cooler in their “reality”, too.)

    The propaganda is beginning to appear in letters to the editors of various newspapers. One right-winger said he was delighted that An Inconvenient Truth was out-performed by Cars (the weekend’s #1 box office movie). These people live in a fantasy world just as far-fetched as Cars itself!

    The letter and some debunking information are cited here.

  2. Steve LaBonne says

    PZ, you’ve got to be kidding about the title of this post. That would never happen; our “mainstream” “journalists” have no shame at all.

  3. David Wilford says

    The lame argument Hinderaker makes about An Inconvenient Truth doesn’t reflect well on his skill as a lawyer. I expect a much better half-baked, half-truth line from someone who works at Faegre & Benson. That’s why those guys get the big bucks.

  4. monstruoso says

    Man, I love the fact that Crichton received the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Journalism Award… so, a documentary is dismissed while a work of fiction is lauded for it’s “ring of truth”.

    I love truthiness.

  5. says

    “doesn’t reflect well on his skill as a lawyer.”

    I could care less about his skills as a lawyer, but his innumeracy is astonishing. Quick, somebody offer him a contingency fee based on the amount of settlement cash he has to give up to his opponent!

  6. says

    I’ve heard the “Gore’s movie is an embarrassing flop” notion repeated by non-right-wingers already. It’s getting around.

    I haven’t seen the movie myself, but I’d had the impression it was doing OK for a documentary, and until today I was wondering if that was just because I spend too much time in the liberal/scientific echo chamber and had gotten out of touch with the zeitgeist.

  7. PaulC says

    Matt McIrvin:

    I’ve heard the “Gore’s movie is an embarrassing flop” notion repeated by non-right-wingers already. It’s getting around.

    I think it’s difficult to call a documentary like this a flop if any large number of people see it. At least, there is no reason for Gore to be embarrassed for getting his message out much better than he would have without the movie.

    I’m not sure what people are saying about it. I noted with interest an AP wire story that scientists had received it favorably: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060628/ap_on_sc/gore_s_science_3 That’s a refreshing change from the usual. I’d like to see it, but I don’t get a chance to see any new movies lately; it will have to wait for the DVD–and most likely for the DVD to show up at the public library. This is how I see movies now.

    From a business standpoint, the only question is cost to make and distribute vs. the box office returns. I suspect it wasn’t that expensive to make. It is mathematically impossible for it to be a “flop” the way something like Ishtar was. Its last weekend gross was over $2 million, and its total was over $9.6 million. If you told people there was going to be a movie about Al Gore giving a slide show and asked them how much they expected it to bring in, it’s hard to believe that they would answer with an overestimate of the actual figures.

  8. ulg says

    I think it’s difficult to call a documentary like this a flop if any large number of people see it.

    Reducing a movie’s popularity by (deceitfully) calling it unpopular is a proven propaganda strategy. The claim that Gore’s movie is unpopular, doesn’t make money, etc, etc, are made solely for their effect – the effect of reducing sales.
    From the point of view of those promulgating the deceit, it is not difficult – it is desirable to call it a flop, regardless of what real numbers show.

  9. PaulC says


    You’re [taking] Power Line to task for repeating what UPI reported?

    First off, they did not repeat the UPI report. They quoted it selectively. The same report says:


    the film has brought in $9.6 million to date, making it one of the most successful documentaries to date.

    Funny how PowerLine stops the quote just before this point. They’d have probably kept the first part of that sentence “Yet despite its failing numbers,” if there was a way to do that without “Yet” and “despite.”

    Second, an irrelevant statistic does not become pertinent just because it’s repeated in a wire story. The UPI writer ought to be ashamed for saying “‘An Inconvenient Truth’ has seen its ticket sales plummet” when in fact ticket sales are continuing to grow (see box office link above). Whether PowerLine simply accepted the UPI story uncritically because it feeds their fantasies or whether they spotted the error and went ahead is anybody’s guess. Either way they got it wrong and deserve to be “taken to task.”

  10. Paul S says

    I posted a note on Blair’s site pointing out that the grosses for AIT are actually increasing, with appropriate citations. We’ll see if it gets noticed.