The conventional wisdom on Live Earth, last Saturday's Al Gore–wrangled series of eight concerts around the world, is developing: It was a big, fat flop, conservative commentators are saying — and they're gleeful about that, because, they say, it's upsetting Gore's supposed "grand plan" (Oscar win to Live Earth to Nobel Prize to presidency, natch). "The organizers … were hoping to attract 2 billion viewers to their cause but managed a slender 2.7 million," writes Nicholas Wapshott in today's Sun. And, yeah, wow, that's quite a failure. Except that Wapshott's number is totally wrong. He cites only the U.S. ratings for the Saturday-night broadcast on NBC. Though a relative disappointment in the United States, the concerts were seen in 178 countries on an array of platforms. Bravo, which carried the shows, registered its best-ever Saturday; on BBC1 in the United Kingdom, it snared 4.5 million viewers against Wimbledon. The shows also set records online, including an all-time viewing high on MSN with 30 million streams. Last but not least, there were also eight stadiums' worth of live viewers. In short, those hoping that Al Gore will "grow another beard," as Wapshott puts it, and skulk away will have to wait a while longer. Until a voting-machine mix-up in Stockholm County sends his Nobel to Rupert Murdoch.
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