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.