Top News Stories of the Decade


Rise of China Tops Iraq War and 9/11 as Top Story of Decade



Top News Stories of the Decade:

The Rise of China surpasses Iraq War and 9/11


Austin, TX December 9, 2009 – In an exclusive analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor, the Rise of China has been determined to be the Top News Story of the Decade followed by the Iraq War, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the War on Terror, and the Death of Michael Jackson. Completing the Top Ten were the Election of Obama to US presidency, the Global Recession of 2008/2009, Hurricane Katrina, the War in Afghanistan, and the onset of the Financial Tsunami/Economic Meltdown. Rounding out the list were the Beijing Olympics, the South Asian Tsunami, the War against the Taliban, the Death of Pope John Paul II, and Osama bin-Laden eludes capture.

Chinese pundits saw GLM’s analysis “was partly aimed at trumpeting the so-called China threat.  The list is the latest sign of the US media’s change from China bashing to China flattery.”  Read how the story unfolded below.

The Original story in Beijing’s People’s Daily

The criticism from China Daily, the official government paper:  The Rise of the Dragon

The follow-up report from Wall Street Journal’s Beijing bureau

The Financial Times’ take on the debate

Chinese Economic Review:  The Hard Bigotry of Too-high Expectations

People’s Daily:  Chinese Ambassador to the UK summarizes China’s position

The methodology: The analysis factored in the number of citations over the course of the decade on the Internet, the blogosphere, including social media, as well as the top 50,000 print and electronic media sites.

“The rise of China to new economic heights has changed – and continues to challenge – the current international order,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “It is with little surprise that its ongoing transformation has topped all other news stories in a decade bespotted by war, economic catastrophe, and natural disasters.”

Read Ben MacIntyre it in the Sunday Times (London):  Words that define the Noughties

Rank/News Story/Comment

1. Rise of China – The biggest story of the decade, outdistancing the No. 2 Internet story by 400%.

2. Iraq War — The buildup, the invasion, the hunt for the WMDs, and the Surge were top in print and electronic media outlets.

3. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks – The 9/11 Terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC seemed to set the tone for the new decade.

4. War on Terror – President George W. Bush’s response to 9/11.

5. Death of Michael Jackson – A remarkably high ranking considering that MJ’s death occurred in the final year of the decade.

6. Election of Obama to US presidency – The rallying cries of ‘hope’ and ‘Yes, we can!’ resulting in the historic election of an African-American to the US presidency.

7. Global Recession of 2008/9 – The on-going world economic restructuring as opposed to the initial ‘economic meltdown’ or ‘financial tsunami’.

8. Hurricane Katrina — New Orleans was devastated when the levies collapsed; scenes of death and destruction shocked millions the world over.

9. War in Afghanistan – Now in its eighth year with an expansion into neighboring Pakistan.

10. Economic Meltdown/Financial Tsunami – The initial shock of witnessing some 25% of the world’s wealth melting away seemingly overnight.

11. Beijing Olympics – The formal launch of China onto the world stage.

12. South Asian Tsunami – The horror of 230,000 dead or missing, washed away in a matter of minutes was seared into the consciousness the global community.

13. War against the Taliban – Lands controlled by the Taliban served as a safe haven from which al Qaeda would launch its terrorist attacks.

14. Death of Pope John Paul II – The largest funeral in recent memory with some 2,000,000 pilgrims in attendance.

15. Osama bin-Laden eludes capture – Hesitation to attack Tora Bora in 2002 has led to the continuing manhunt.

This analysis was completed on December 1, 2009 using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

The Global Language Monitor has recently named the Top Words of the Decade. They were Global Warming, 9/11, Obama, Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed.“Climate Change” was top phrase; “Heroes” was top name.

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

English has become the first truly global language with some 1.58 billion speakers as a first, second or auxiliary language. Paul JJ Payack examines its impact on the world economy, culture and society in A Million Words and Counting (Citadel Press, New York, 2009).

The current estimate for the number of words in the English Language stands at 1,002,116.

For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to, or visit