the humble libertarian

out of many one

Monday, September 14, 2009

How Many People Were In Attendance At The 912 March in DC? Over One Million For Sure

I am shocked to see how wildly the reports vary on attendance at the 912 DC rally. Can we no longer trust anything we hear from the media today? Not even bare facts like the number of people who showed up to a march in Washington? ABC News says 60,000. The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports 1 million. Who's telling us the truth?

ABC News Misattributed, Did Not Report 2 Million

ABC News insists that the crowd size was between sixty and seventy thousand:

" reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as 'tens of thousands.'"

And clears up the misattribution to it of a much larger figure:

"Conservative activists, who organized a march on the U.S. Capitol today in protest of the Obama administration’s health care agenda and government spending, erroneously attributed reports on the size of the crowds to ABC News.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the group that organized the event, said on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance."

Somewhere in the mix that figure got inflated further to 2 million by the time Michelle Malkin reported it (and The Humble Libertarian cited her mistaken figure and attribution) Saturday, but she had cleared up the mistake by Monday morning on her 912 rally post.

60,000 - 70,000? Not even close

In addition to ABC News' report of sixty to seventy thousand, the Associated Press, MS-NBC, and other mainstream media news outlets reported: "Tens of thousands of protesters fed up with government spending marched to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday."

This figure is blatantly, embarrassingly false. Take a look at this crowd estimate schematic used by the National Park Service to estimate the turnout at President Obama's inauguration this January (visiting the link provides a detailed explanation of the graphic):

Now take another look at this picture:

And this one taken from much further back (see the teeny-tiny Capitol Building way up in the upper left?):

And note carefully that this camera angle is not one of the National Mall depicted in the USA Today/National Park Service schematic above. It's the view from 14th and E St NW towards the Capital Building along Pennsylvania Avenue. You can see in the screenshot from Google Maps below where the camera is (I marked it with the red dot) and how much of Pennsylvania Avenue is packed with 912 tax protesters (click the image for a more detailed look).

Below Pennsylvania Avenue on the image above, you can see the National Mall depicted in the USA Today/National Park Service schematic (though it appears backward because in their schematic, up is South and down is North), and it was ALSO packed IN ADDITION TO Pennsylvania Avenue, which you can see from this photo here, with the Washington Monument in the background:

Let's just face it- even if the crowd did not measure above 1 million in attendance (which seems to be the case in my estimation), it is a blatant lie to claim that only 70,000 were in attendance. It is utterly inaccurate to report that "tens of thousands" showed up to protest in Washington on 9-12, when the more accurate figure is definitely and indisputably "hundreds of thousands" (if not over one million) as the photos above in conjunction with the National Park Service schematic can attest to.

The Big Lie

But keep telling a lie over and over again, and people will start believing it. eagerly corrects Republican "lies" about health insurance reform (while misrepresenting and omitting facts itself). But go visit their site right now and see if it says anything about this monumental factual inaccuracy- this lie that tens of thousands showed up to the 912 rally.

As of 3:45 pm CDT today, their front page has nothing about the "tens of thousands" lie and neither does their "Hot Topics" page. Though with the kind of (il)logic that tends to apply, by the time they get around to Fact-Checking this- they'll conclude that it's "half-true" because if one million people showed up (they'll say "hundreds of thousands" of course), then that also means tens of thousands showed up, since hundreds of thousands consists of tens of thousands.

Cruise on over to the DailyKos, and a columnist smugly points out the ABC misattribution, saying "Shocking, I know, that conservatives would lie about attendance... Ha! If ABC thinks a little thing like insisting on reality is going to make a difference, they haven't been paying attention..."

Is it any less shocking that a media which has been entirely transparent in its pro-Obama activism would lie and deflate the numbers too? And if this columnist were truly earnest about reality and the truth, wouldn't she bother to mention that ABC's estimate is clearly bogus? I'll be e-mailing her here, with a link to this article to clear things up. You are welcome to as well (be polite).

I will also be contacting, ABC News (use the category "Inaccurate Information"), and MS-NBC (point them to this URL as containing the error). You are encouraged to do the same! We must combat these falsehoods and lies immediately by demanding that the mainstream media report a more accurate and less misleading figure.

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