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April 2006
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Drug Czar uses questionable statistics to brag

The Drug Czar’s latest news release made me laugh out loud.

WHITE HOUSE DRUG POLICY BLOG RECIEVES [sic]
OVER ONE MILLION HITS
Federal Government’s Effort to Use New Technology as a Tool for Cultural Change Begins to Make an Impact
(Washington, D.C.)–John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), today announced that www.PushingBack.com, the Federal Government’s first Web blog, has received over one million hits since going live in March of last year. Pushing Back was created to take advantage of the popularity of “blogging” to convey information about the latest National efforts to reduce the harms that illegal drugs cause to the United States. The blog provides daily updates on the White House “Drug Czar,” highlights community efforts that “push back” against drug use, and showcases new research that serves to inform policymakers and anti-drug leaders throughout America.

OK, that’s interesting. 1 million hits in a year. Well, he knows all about “blogging,” and he’s got the entire resources of the federal government, so why not? But of course, the actual statistical proof is not given.
So let’s see how realistic this is, by comparing John’s blog with mine. His has been up for a year. Mine for close to three years.
So let’s see what Google says about links to our blogs.
John’s blog: About 17 links (including Narcosphere, Stop the Drug War, Drug WarRant, Drug Policy Alliance, and an old parody blog of the ONDCP that I used to write. Pretty much the only pro-drug-war links to the site are from… the actual ONDCP. As far as I can tell, we’re the only ones reading him!)
My blog: About 4540 links.
OK. How about Technorati — the blog searching site?
John’s blog: 4 sites currently link with only 18 posts that linked to his blog in the last 298 days (mostly from us, of course).
My blog: 813 current links from 214 sites
So how many hits have I had? Well, that depends on what statistics you use — different systems come up with different results, depending on what they count (story pages and archives, etc.) In over 2 1/2 years, SiteMeter says I’ve gotten 493,225 page hits, and SalonBlogs says that I’ve gotten 815,617. That’s great! In fact, it’s pretty incredible for a single-issue blog that only covers drug policy.
But of course, the drug czar got a million hits in one year.
Right.
Come on, John. Show us the proof.
Who knows? It could be true. Maybe he sits at home clicking on the page over and over and over and over…

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