Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Magazine Publisher Stupidly Uses Inflated Propaganda Statistics as Basis for Business Model

On June 18, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an article about a new magazine called Muslim Girl. I wrote a letter-to-the-editor about the article, but -- needless to say -- the Chronicle didn't run it. But I think the letter raises some important points, so I'll post it here!

San Francisco Chronicle Editors --

In Joe Garafoli's article about Muslim Girl magazine is this passage:
Editors estimate that roughly 400,000 Muslim teenage girls live in the United States, part of the estimated 6 million to 8 million Muslims living in the country. The magazine's Toronto-based publisher, execuGo Media (some of the small editorial staff is in Chicago), believes much of its target market comes from affluent, well-educated families possessing untapped consumer spending power.
I find it totally pitiable and almost sad that execuGo Media could based its entire business plan on a statistic that is known to be propaganda.

Activist groups like CAIR have famously inflated their pronouncements as to the number of Muslims in the US, rising by a million practically every time they issue a new press release. Eventually, they reached the laughable plateau of "8 million."

Why are these advocacy groups padding the numbers like this? To exaggerate the importance of Muslim-Americans as a voting bloc, and to increase the perception of their political importance.

But everybody who's paying atention knows it's a lie.

In fact, the latest Pew Research Center poll -- the most trusted and accurate polling institution in the country -- shows that the actual number of Muslims in the United States is (brace yourself) only 2.35 million:
Based on data from this survey, along with available Census Bureau data on immigrants' nativity and nationality, the Pew Research Center estimates the total population of Muslims in the United States at 2.35 million.
The fraudlent statistics of "8 million Muslims" bandied about by groups like CAIR are not meant to be taken seriously by Muslims themselves -- the stats are intended purely as propaganda for lazy politicians to cite. (See this essay at the "Miss Kelly" blog for some good analysis.)

How tragic, then, how absolutely laughable that a publishing company like execuGo Media would not only swallow the inflated numbers hook line and sinker, but use them as the basis of an actual business plan. I can only shake my head in pity.

They should count themselves lucky to have even gotten 25,000 subscribers, much less their fantasy of 100,000.

A further look at the Pew data shows an ever grimmer picture for execuGo's bottom line:

Of the 2.35 million Muslims in the US, only 40% attend mosque, and only 60% pray every day, which means that approximately only half of US Muslims are "observant." Also, about half (according to the Pew poll) think that Muslims "should adopt American customs" and should assimilate as much as possible. Which means that only half of those 2.35 million would have any interest in an "identity politics" magazine like Muslim Girl.

Without boring you with the details, the Pew stats (and other official stats) show that a significant minority number of Muslims in the US are college students here with student visas -- almost all of whom are male. And amongst that half of observant Muslims, a certain percentage are extremely observant (i.e. fundamentalist), and would never allow their daughters to read anything even closely resembling Muslim Girl.

Which leaves us with only about 1 million non-assimilated, non-fundamentalist, non-single-male Muslims living in middle class familes in the US (execuGo's market group). In any family, there will be a mother and a father, and for simplicity's sake we'll just say an equal number of daughters and sons -- which would leave us with only 1/4 of a million, or 250,000 potential customers (Muslim daughters) for the magazine.

But wait! Not all of those daughters are teenagers. Some are babies, some are toddlers, some are grade-schoolers, and some are college students or even adults. Being generous, we could estimate that there are in fact only 100,000 teenage Muslim girls who even identify as religiously Muslim in the United States.

So, what execuGo is projecting, is that they would get a 100% total market saturation for their magazine -- 100,000 subscribers out of 100,000 grand total potential customers. Which of course is ludicrous.

They're living in a dream world! How could they possibly have been so misinformed as to believe the inflated propaganda population statistics and use them as the basis of an actual real-world business model?

Someone need to go back to Business 101.

And I think Mr. Garafoli's article would have more incisive and would have actually counted as "journalism" if he had pointed out any of this. Instead, all we're left with is another fact-free puff piece.