Slate’s Dave Weigel Makes a Complete Fool of Himself

It’s unsurprising that Slate has a tendency to hire complete fools. Slate’s Dave Weigel joins the collection of fools over at Slate with the following blog post:

Ratings for “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which tumbled after 5 million people watched the premiere, have remained stable at around 3 million. That’s about as good as “Mad Men.”

It’s unsurprising that Weigel is such a fool that he doesn’t know that Mad Men doesn’t draw around 3 million people each week as he asserts. Mad Men didn’t draw 3 million even in its season finale. So there really is no plausible way to assert that ratings for Sarah Palin’s Alaska are “about as good” as “Mad Men” unless you are a complete fool. Weigel might have been better off claiming that Obama drew the same amount of viewers to Mythbusters as Governor Palin draws each week but it still wouldn’t have been true (Obama was only able to draw 2.2 million to Mythbusters).

Weigel also finds it telling that America By Heart hasn’t performed as well as Going Rogue. If Going Rogue is the standard by which a book’s sales will be judged, then nearly every book released from this point forward by any political author will be considered a bust. Weigel makes a big deal about the fact that America By Heart will likely not hit the #1 spot on the NY Times best-seller list among non-fiction hardcover books. The only reason why she won’t claim the #1 ranking is because Bush’s book was out at around the same time. She would have hit the #1 ranking if Bush’s book had been released after her book.

A better way to evaluate how a book is performing is to look at its performance on the USA Today best-seller list because it shows you how a book is selling among all books. America By Heart started off at #4 and currently maintains a respectable #18 ranking among all books.

The most hilarious part of Weigel’s post is his concession that “[s]he’s going to sell more books than just about any 2012 presidential candidate.” What he omits to mention is that America By Heart has already sold more books than the last three books released by her possible 2012 opponent, Barack Obama. Obama’s current “non-partisan book” is languishing on the USA Today list at #40 while his two previous tomes completely bombed.

Political books typically don’t do as well as memoirs. That America By Heart isn’t matching the outrageously good sales numbers of Going Rogue isn’t surprising either. As for the crowd at the Anchorage event, the Anchorage Daily News is conceding that over 500 people showed up for a book-signing on an extremely cold day where only 500 people were guaranteed to have their books signed. It makes sense that the number of people who showed up at a book signing was close to the number of people guaranteed to get their book signed as it’s unlikely that someone would go to a book signing unless he or she was guaranteed to have his or her book signed.



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