1 Stats and things. For the first time, Ethics Alarms had less traffic than the year before, down almost 10%. I was expecting at least a 10% jump, so this is disappointing, though I probably should have seen it coming. The 2016 campaign drew a lot of interest to the site, and that year was a major jump from the previous one. The blog ends the year with more followers than it had at the beginning, and the number of comments were up over 2016. I would also say that the quality of comments was dramatically better, with the most Comments of the Day ever.
The post that had the most comments in 2017 was a COTD, in fact: Comment of the Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/13/17: Rushing In Panic Around My Boston Hotel Room Because I Didn’t Get My Wake-Up Call Edition” with 324, among the most ever.
The author? Zoltar Speaks!
It’s just vanity and ego to worry about traffic fluctuations. I’m competitive by nature; it’s a flaw. I’d love Ethics Alarms to have sufficient name recognition and exposure to have a measurable influence in public discourse, but that’s always been unlikely, given the subject matter. What I should care most about, and do, when I’m being rational, is that the discussions here are uniformly of high quality, avoid the idiotic “Yeah, well what about Bush, you repug?” back and forth threads of most websites, and that there is a daily colloquy here that I can be proud to host. Besides, if Ethics Alarms were widely quoted, I’d have to put up with being called a “self-proclaimed ethicist” more often.
I also banned far fewer commenters this year than last year. That’s a good thing.
Next to the search engines and WordPress, the most referrals came through the Washington Post and the New York Times. The Althouse blog sent more readers here than any other blog, which is nice, especially since Ann still doesn’t bother to include me in her blogroll.
Not counting stand alone pages, like the About page and the Rationalizations List, the top viewed posts in 2017 were 1) the 2016 anti Snopes post; 2) the 2013 workplace ethics post, 3) “Wanetta Gibson is Worse Than I Thought” (2014); 4) the initial VW scandal post from 2015; 5) the 2015 post about ventriloquist Jeff Duham’s marital problems (Don’t ask me why; it’s a mystery); 6) the Listerine and alcoholics post from way back in 2010; 7) the Foundation for a Better Life post (2011); 8) The anti-“What Would You Do?” post, also from 2011, and it is depressing that the thing is still being broadcast; 9) finally a 2017 post, The Naked Teacher Principle, Ex-Porn Star Variation, and 10) also from last year, my take-down of Sally Yates.
That last was also the first politics-related post to turn-up on the list, which tells you something, though I’m not sure what. The Ethics Alarms post that I have most linked to in 2017 was buried deep on the list at 136: 2015’s, A Nation Of Assholes: The Ultimate, Undeniable And Crucial Reason Donald Trump Must Never Be President.
As in every year, I think, none of the posts that I thought were the most important or my best work were among the most read.
Thanks to all the readers and commenters who have made this past year a rewarding and challenging one.
Next year will be even better.
2. While you watch those Bowl games, think about this...College sports critic Mike McIntire explains the absurd status of big money in college sports in his article, “The College Sports Tax Dodge.” An excerpt:
Today, as the hugely lucrative football bowl season wraps up, colleges fear that the new tax law signed by President Trump could derail their gravy train — two provisions target coaches’ high salaries and booster donations tied to ticket purchases. But they need not worry much.
There are no plans to start taxing television revenue and corporate sponsorships, two of the biggest income streams, which together transformed intercollegiate athletics into a multibillion-dollar business. Even with the legislative changes, collegiate sports remain largely tax exempt, the beneficiary of a public subsidy that is increasingly difficult to defend.
The corrosive culture of money in big-time college sports — more than $8 billion a year among the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I sports programs — was painfully obvious recently with the indictments of college coaches and an Adidas executive charged with paying bribes to recruit basketball players and steer them to agents. It was left to federal prosecutors to issue a statement condemning the “criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes.”
The tax-exempt nature of college sports is not the cause of these problems. Rather, it is rocket fuel for an engine that has escaped the gravitational pull of common sense and decency….
If President Trump wants to repatriate and tax corporate profits stashed offshore, he might also consider the untaxed billions hiding in plain sight on campuses right here at home.
I recommend the whole article.
3. About that stupid “Most admired” poll. It’s fake news. Last week we were told, as if it were significant, that Barack Obama—not President Trump!—was The Most Admired Man in America, and Hillary Clinton was The Most Admired Woman. We were told that a Gallup Poll determined this, and by being told, we were expected to learn something. However, we were not told in most reports,
…that the Most Admired Man was the most admired man of only 17% of those polled.
…that the real winner of the title was Nobody, since 25% of the pollees couldn’t think of anyone to name.
…that Hillary was named by only 9% of those polled, fewer than the percentage that named friends or relatives (13%).
…that after Trump, who was close behind Obama at 14%, those polled were grasping, with the Pope finishing third (4%), and Evangelist Billy Graham ( whom I thought was dead: he’s 99) a point behind in 4th.
Several conservative wags pointed out that the poll results could have been headlined, “President Trump Most Admired U.S. Elected Official.” Nah. That would spoil the “narrative.” What the news media wants to convey is that he’s unpopular, like the other Presidents (Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and George W. Bush) who lost a poll Presidents almost always win.
The poll proves nothing except that most Americans barely pay attention to the nation and its culture. Other than that, it is misleading, and without the numbers that immediately show how misleading, the poll is deceitful, intentional misrepresentation. If one were determined to find something newsworthy in the poll, I suppose it would be in the rise or fall of certain figures. Elizabeth Warren is up to 3% in the Most Admired Woman category, tripling last year’s number.Bill Clinton isn’t on the list at all, meaning that he was named less often than Elon Musk, Mile Pence, and the Dalai Lama. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Bill isn’t still admired by more Americans than Elon Musk (since most American have no idea who he is), just that he’s not admired the most by as many people as admire Elon Musk the most.
Isn’t the man who is admired by more people more admired than the man who more people say they admire most? Who knows? Who cares?
The poll is garbage, and by reporting it as non-garbage, the news media again dishonestly spins for “the resistance.”