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Did Al Gore Really Get 8.6 Million Views on His 24-Hour Global Warming Special?

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"So whom are we to trust?"

Former Vice President Al Gore hosted a "24 Hours of Reality" global warming special last week, and the numbers are in -- sort of.

Gore's site claimed the Sept. 15 marathon live-stream received 8.6 million views. That number, Climate Reality Project President Maggie Fox said, is the number of clicks the show had received by the time the event wrapped up -- not people tuning in to re-watch clips after it was over.

But as the blog Watts Up With That points out, the number is probably more like 17,000 -- if that.

First, in case you weren't familiar with "24 Hours of Reality," here's a description from Gore's website:

Each hour, a citizen activist trained by Al Gore delivered a presentation that connected the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate.

Looking at website traffic statistics, post author Charles the Moderator estimated the Climate Reality Project only had about 167,000 global visitors the day of the event.

He based his estimation off the Sept. 15 traffic for his own site Watts Up With That, which according to web statistics site Alexa receives about one-fifth or one-sixth of the Climate Reality Project's traffic on any given day. On the day of the marathon, Watts Up With That had 27,900 global visitors, which multiplied by six gives the rough estimate of 167,000 for Gore's site.

Now, going back to the web statistics, the average time viewers spent on the Climate Reality Project site on Sept. 15 was only about three minutes -- far less than the length of the marathon.

Charles explained:

[F]or everyone who stayed for an hour there were maybe 30 or so who left after a minute which is normal for boring video. The distribution can vary, maybe some stayed for for 5 minutes or 10, but it doesn’t look good.

Let’s be generous with this as well and say that 1 in 10 stayed around to watch a significant amount of the program. That means there may have been about 17,000 dedicated viewers (estimating on the high side) of the program worldwide.

Additionally, Charles wrote, only about 66,000 people had indicated they were "attending" the event on Facebook. While Facebook RSVPs are hardly ironclad, 66,000 is still a long way off from Gore's statement. Charles wondered if all the other people Gore said tuned in could have watched the stream through other means -- maybe directly through Facebook or web streaming service Ustream:

Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a little bit of storytelling going on and perhaps the numbers are a wee bit inflated.

"So whom are we to trust?" asks the London Daily Telegraph's James Delingpole. "An evil climate denying website run by evil climate deniers? Or a loving family man who has selflessly made it his mission to travel the world acquiring as large a carbon footprint as possible in order to spread the word that we should all drastically reduce our carbon footprints?"

What do you think?

(h/t Gateway Pundit)

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