RETRACTED! “The Guardian’s “Person Of The Year” Poll Disaster” [Updated]

Well, once again, I was lied to, fooled, and made an unwitting accomplice in a fake conservative news scam. Worse, I was led to the fake story by three sites I already have had bad experiences with, and thus should have been wary. ( Though memeorandum also pointed me to the story, and that is a reliably non-partisan aggregator.) As is usually the case in such situations, confirmation bias, mine, was at the heart of the mistake.  In the end, this is my responsibility, and thus my fault. I know better.

If I were Al Sharpton or Dan Rather, I might argue that what I wrote about the Guardian could have happened this way, so the article is accurate, though not true. I’m not, though. Here’s what really happened: the Guardian closed down not a poll on “The Person of the Year,” but reader nominations. It is true (maybe) that J.K. Rowling received the most nominations, but the nominations were closed because it was time to close them. She’s still on the slate of candidates.

I apologize to Ethics Alarms readers, commenters, the Guardian, J.K. Rowling, oh, everyone. And if I ever trust those sources again, hit me over the head with a brick when I’m not looking.

Thanks to Phlinn for catching this when I did not.

UPDATE: None of the sites that have run this botch have clarified or retracted it, except this one, as of 7:30 am the next day.

And there it is, right at the bottom in tiny print. The British paper “The Guardian” ran an online poll to determine readers’ 2021 “Person of the Year,” and then suddenly pulled the plug. Why would they do that?

They did it because J.K. Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” books, was winning the poll handily.  Rowling is currently a pariah with transgender activists for her quite reasonable assertions like insisting that human beings with penises cannot accurately be called “women” just because they want to be, and that the movement to recast what have been called women as “persons with uteruses” is ridiculous. She has refused to grovel an apology like most public figures threatened with “cancelling” because of views that differ from Leftist cant, and instead has doubled down repeatedly. Earlier this month she mocked Scotland’s law enforcement policy that allows accused rapists to self-identify as female, tweeting, “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.” Rowling’s reward for serving as a role model for those tempted to be weenies and allow themselves to be bullied out of their opinions and beliefs has been death threats and public attacks, with the social media mobs leading the way. One would think that a newspaper would be a bulwark of free speech and continue to support those who refused to be silenced. Well, not the Guardian. (And not so much of the U.S. mainstream media either, but that’s a different topic.)

There are so many observations to be made about the Guardian’s craven suspension of a poll because it didn’t like the way the results were turning out that there isn’t time to list them all. Here are some; I’m sure you will have some to add.

  • Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!
  • How did the paper think it would get away with this? It is being roundly criticized and ridiculed, and rightly so. Is completely blowing up even the illusion of independence and integrity a reasonable price to pay for avoiding the anger of the radical pro-trans mob? By what calculation?
  • It’s a simple rule: don’t ask a question if you aren’t willing to accept the answer.
  • The fiasco demonstrates that the Guardian doesn’t know its readers, and, apparently, doesn’t like them or respect them either. It deserves to suffer for that.
  • The only possible justification for its conduct would be if there was convincing evidence that the poll had been rigged or hacked, like when Cincinnati Reds fans exploited an easily corrupted All-Star voting process in 1957 to stuff the N.L. team with its home town favorites. If there is such evidence, however, why hasn’t The Guardian said so?
  • Here is the discarded title of this post that I decided was unfair: “The British Media Adapts The U.S. Media’s Attitude Toward Democracy: An Election Is Only Valid When It Likes The Result.” Here’s another “The Brits Still Haven’t Quite Grasped That Democracy Thingy.” But I was tempted. The Guardian is only one publication, though.
  • Talk about hypocrisy: here is what appears right under the section above:

An erosion of democratic norms. An escalating climate emergency. Corrosive racial inequality. A crackdown on the right to vote. Rampant pay inequality. America is in the fight of its life. If you can, please make a year-end gift today to fund our reporting in 2022. For 10 years, the Guardian US has brought an international lens with a focus on justice to its coverage of America. Globally, more than 1.5 million readers, from 180 countries, have recently taken the step to support the Guardian financially – keeping us open to all, and fiercely independent. We couldn’t do this without readers like you. With no shareholders or billionaire owner, we can set our own agenda and provide trustworthy journalism that’s free from commercial and political influence, offering a counterweight to the spread of misinformation. When it’s never mattered more, we can investigate and challenge without fear or favour.

Hilarious! Democratic norms! The right to vote! Fiercely independent! Trustworthy! Free from political influence! No fear or favor! But we bury voting results and kill a poll when they might get us in trouble with progressive darlings and ruthless activists.

10 thoughts on “RETRACTED! “The Guardian’s “Person Of The Year” Poll Disaster” [Updated]

  1. They need to change their name — The Guardian of Woke, or The Guardian of Socialism, or The Guardian of the Left, or something. Truth in advertising and all.

    They have a lot of company when it comes to dishonest, biased “journalism” (whatever that means these days). You can’t point a finger at them without pointing the same figure at the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, every major daily in almost every major city and all but one major TV network.

    It’s where we are. Welcome to 2022, where it’s only likely to get worse.

    Jack wrote: How did the paper think it would get away with this?

    Because they know their readers would agree with their decision. It’s pretty much irrelevant what the critics say, because they don’t pay the bills. Nobody who reads The Guardian one time can imagine that they are anything but biased apologists for the Woke Left.

    I guess if you’re going to dance with the Devil, you might as well own it.

    • Here’s the timeline:
      1) Saw your comment.
      2) Thought, “Hey! Neil’s back! That’s nice!”
      3) Read Phlinn’s comment, next in the queue suggesting that the post about this that I had up before I read your comment was fake news.
      4. Checked–it was.
      5. Retracted the post.
      6. Went back and clicked on the link, which repeated the bad info that led me to post what I did.
      7. Said, “Wow.”

  2. Love Elon Musk’s sense of humor and businesslike, apparently somewhat conservative outlook. But Ms. Rowling’s courage to stand up for common sense and not crumble in the face of derision – she’s quite a hero in my book.

  3. I’m not comprehending what is real, what is fake, and what is retracted. Was the story about J.K. Rowling being the people’s choice for person of the year real? Was it The Guardian’s cancelling the person of the year contest because the winner wasn’t sufficiently virtuous?
    Or was it Jack who bamboozled into believing something that was actually fake news? If yes, which part(s) snuck by Jack’s BS detector? Just like The Guardian’s People’s Choice for Person of The Year, it’s not terribly important; it’s my reading comprehension failure(s) that are most important to me.

    • I’ll clarify.

      1. Multiple sources claimed that the Guardian, having announced that its readers would choose the 2021 Person of the Year, suddenly cancelled the voting because a pariah to the Left was leading the election.

      2. I found several sources (though one I have pledge to ignore started my search) and was misled not only by them but by the Guardian’s rather confusing description of what it was doing.

      3. What was really going on was that the Guardian was asking for nominations for “Person of the Year,’ and its editors will decide who “wins.” It doesn’t matter how many people nominated Rowling, and they the didn’t suspend the vote: the period for accepting nominations expired. Rowling made the list of finalists. There was no unethical conduct.

      4. Phlinn flagged the interpretation by The Daily Wire, Breitbart, Powerline, Red State and others (including Newsweek) as “fake news<' explaining the above. I confirmed his analysis, and retracted my post

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