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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.

Hot New Tea Party Merchandise: 912 March T-Shirts


  1. The only problem is that this picture isn't from the 9/12 event.

  2. A lot of Democrats on the blogosphere are making this claim but it is entirely unsubstantiated.

    The typical argument goes that the flag is at half mast, so it must not have been real, but they are forgetting that it was still at half mast for 9-11.

    It was definitely real, and similar photos and screen shots were shown all over the mainstream media, including MS-NBC (click the very last photo in this post and it will take you to another blog with an MS-NBC screen shot showing the same turn out).

    Yet they won't report that it was more than a mere tens of thousands.

  3. My first visit to D.C. was before I went back to Iraq. It is such a majestic place for me having been consumed with what goes on there for awhile. Would have loved to be there on 9/12. This is the start of the unraveling. Regular folks are understanding how these guys in D.C. are destroying the whole country from those few square mile area.

  4. Great post.

  5. Those of us who were there know those photos were real. A typical comment is "When can we come back with twice the crowd!" The way the Obama administration is reacting to this it will be soon.......

  6. I was there. The pictures are real. It was shoulder to shoulder inside the capital fence. To give you an idea of the amount of the crowd, there were a line of porta pottys about 1-1.5 blocks up PA avenue from the edge of the Capital fenced in lawn. I was on the lawn. It took over 1/2 hour and a lot of excuse me's to get to the Porta Pottys. Then it took about 45 minutes to find my way back to our group.

    The parade down PA avenue was started almost 1 hour earlier than scheduled because the park police ran out of room to put the streams of people constantly flowing into PA avenue. You could tell they were not prepared for the size of the crowd that showed up. DC traffic and the metro system were overwhelmed with traffic. I can't say it was a million people, but it was definitely more than tens of thousands. That was a very vague way to minimize us.

  7. This problem of mis-reporting the crowd size happened at the Fort Worth 912 March as well. Even in the rain, the estimates from the organizers ranged from 5,000-10,000, but the local paper only said approximately 1,000 were in attendance. (There is a YouTube video out there of the march and lots of photos... my man and I were there participating as well).

    It is not only deeply disappointing but puzzling, almost frightening and an unfortunate confirmation of bias that such inaccurate numbers would be reported by the media regarding these events, and that the events would be treated in such a dismissive manner.

  8. Tajitj- Hear, hear!

    rmcc444- thanks!

    Anonymous- That is what I'm hearing from all my colleagues and friends who attended. Thanks for commenting.

    Dave- again, you're the man for going! The media will lie and minimize, but I don't think that makes it a wasted effort at all.

    The politicians- they were there and know what happened this weekend. The lobbyists were too. I'm sure they are trembling with anger that America has finally woken up to their scheming and looting.

    Diana- you are absolutely right. This isn't just stupid, petty, wrong, and dishonest. It is downright chilling.

    The media should act as watchdogs for the government, not lapdogs for it. They should question it, not defend and lie for it. The corporate/media/political complex is a frightening development in American history indeed.

  9. I couldn't estimate the crowd size because I was in the middle of it. Suffice it to say that it was HUGE. People were still arriving when it was ending. I'm not surprized the media is minimizing it. Pretty sure Obama has an accurate number. How big? I dunno, but it would be hard to stuff any more of us in there.

  10. I've NEVER been more proud of my country than I am at this moment. WE HAVE THE POWER!!!

    I have realized the liberal fraud for what it is and the blatant attempt to transform this country into a radical left-wing dictatorship (think worse than socialism, think communism and ultimately, slavery.) The unaccountable private banking cartel called the Federal Reserve has EVERYTHING to do with this.

    Watch The Obama Deception and see for yourself. Believe it or not, this is a NON-PARTISAN independent film. Take from it what you will, but THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR.

    We have to hold these people accountable for the trillions of dollars they've been given by both the current and previous administrations! THIS IS OUR FUTURE AT STAKE!!!

    Contact your representatives and tell them to support HR 1207 and S 604, which are the House and Senate versions of Ron Paul's bill to Audit The Federal Reserve. Then we can finally see whose private bank accounts our tax dollars are going to.

    This site has links you can follow to contact your Congressperson and URGE THEM to support this bill.


    This message brought to you by a Bush bashing Obama voting member of the mob who finally WOKE UP!

  11. I was there. It was packed. The pictures are true. And next time, we will be back with even more!

  12. NBC on saturday morning (i think)it was reported that there were more than a MILLION people there....the repoter said there is no way this is tens of thoiusands or 60 to 70 thousand, there are a MILIION people here!! that came from NBC...did anybody else see that report?

  13. CMD- you are absolutely right that the Fed is a major part of the problem and its removal is both non-partisan and urgent.

    Anonymous commentators- Thanks for commenting! Those of you who were there: thanks for being there and making it such an unprecedented event!

  14. Here's some video I took on 9-12, on the Mall between noon and 4 PM. It provides some insight into the attendance.

  15. The cameraman is scoffing that this is the "tiniest rally [he's] ever seen," but as you can see from the analysis and images in the article above, the bulk of the crowd was on Pennsylvania Avenue, not the National Mall where the cameraman was filming- so the video is rather disingenuous.

    Additionally, several other photos I've seen that were taken of the event seem to indicate more crowds in even the National Mall than the impression given by the video in the link directly above.

  16. @W.E., if there were more people on the Mall, where were they? And if there were so many on Penn Ave, where did they go afterward? I took the video after the march was over, and the rally was in full swing.

    I don't claim to have been on Penn Ave. I'm just responding to people claiming the area between the Capital and Monument was full. I was also at the 1-20 Inauguration and dug up some photos. Here's two for comparison, both taken by my wife from more or less the same location.

    Sorry if the link is bad. This #(%! blog won't let me paste text.

  17. p.s. Also check the Metrorail ridership. It points to about 40,000 additional riders on 9-12. The Black Family Reunion was a much bigger event on 9-12 than the rally, so at most 30,000 of those riders were protesters, and assuming generously another 10,000 by bus, walking from hotels, car, etc, you end up with the same result, maybe 40 or 50K at the protest.

  18. I don't know who's claiming the Mall was full, but what I'm claiming is that there were over 1 million protesters on 9-12.

    With the screen shot of the live camera at 14th and E St NW, the National Park Service schematic, and the Google Maps screen shot (all in the article above), I cannot see how any other conclusion is possible.

    "Also check the Metrorail ridership..." Source?

  19. MIT did a very technical study with diagrams and figures posted on the internet and they proved their were 1million 700thousand there. see

  20. Very nice! Thanks for sharing the link.

  21. Metro Ridership:
    Click on my name above to get to the Metrorail link.

    Average Sat. ridership in Sept 2008: 360,000
    Ridership 9-12-2009: 437,624
    Increase: Approx. 80,000 1-way trips
    80,000 1-way trips = approx. 40,000 additional riders.

    Some of the increase is attributable to the Black Family Reunion, which looked like a much larger event than the rally, but it's impossible to know how much.

  22. @anonymous - that wasn't an MIT study, it was just some blogger using university of Illinois letterhead. His pictures & diagrams are taken from sites like, so his claim to be unbiased is suspect. And his rambling analysis & diagrams are only impressive if you don't actually read it & try to make sense of it.

  23. @H.E. No, I didn't see anyone on this site make the claim that the Mall was full, but I've seen it on many other sites. And, if the 1M claim is anywhere near true, the Mall would have to have been full. Where did the marchers go after they finished marching? I was there from Noon to 4, and I didn't see any marchers on Penn Ave or anywhere else but the Mall.

    I was there on Inauguration Day, which has been claimed at 900K to 2M (I think Metro ridership would make it closer to 900K). Go to for pictures of both events. On 1-20 it was literally standing room only from the Capital to at least the Washington Monument, and all the side streets were packed as well. On 9-12, when you got out of the subway you had to search for the rally. There is really no comparison. Click on my name for a link to 2 photos my wife took from the same spot on the 2 days.

    I've been to many rallies on the Mall. Most of them were back when the Park Service made official estimates. Rallies estimated at 50,000 were ones that went from the Capitol back to 4th Street at least. On 9-12 the rally never extended beyond 3rd Street all afternoon. Between 3rd and 7th was just mostly empty grass & frisbee players.

  24. "several other photos I've seen that were taken of the event seem to indicate more crowds in even the National Mall than the impression given by the video in the link directly above."

    What photos? Can you link to them? Even the extremely-flattering wide angle shots of the Capitol that I've seen on conservative blogs shows lots and lots of green space behind 3rd Street.

  25. You damage your credibility, sir!

    "I was there from Noon to 4, and I didn't see any marchers on Penn Ave or anywhere else but the Mall."

    We all saw Penn Ave packed to the brim with marchers on all the news networks.

    I know lots of people who were there (two of them published their account of it on this blog) and who recounted the march on Penn Ave.

    In any event, I doubt we can come to a resolution on this matter, but hopefully in my writings to come, we can have a fruitful dialogue about the issues at stake for the marchers (less spending, lower taxes, more liberty, more transparency, etc.).

  26. As you can see from the video I shot, I was approaching the Capital by 2:30, and there was no evidence of any crowd streaming in. Are you claiming that 950,000 were backed up onto Penn Ave at 3 PM?

    I can agree with you that the numbers debate is overshadowing substantive debate. But I would argue that it does matter because I believe that supporters of this movement are inflating their own significance. A march that was advertised for months and pushed hard on cable TV, that resulted in the numbers that I saw, indicates a very small movement.

    Also, all reputable news outlets, including Fox, reported "tens of thousands." So the burden of proof is on those that claim 10 or 20 times that number. I think that claiming that 50K = 2M just reinforces peoples' opinion that this is a movement with little interest in facts. And please don't tell me the UK Daily Mail is a reputable news source. Spouting propaganda in a charmingly clipped accent doesn't make it any less biased.

    So I still have never heard anyone explain -
    If 40K took the Metro (a generous assumption, since part of the ridership was surely due to the Black Family Reunion, a much bigger event), and another 25K took chartered buses (500 buses x 50 people each - another generous assumption) and another 30K walked from hotels, from Amtrak, drove & parked (ha!), took cabs, parachuted, etc ...
    How did the other 900,000 people get to the march? And once they got the Capitol, where did they all go? They weren't on the Mall - I know what I saw with my own eyes.

  27. "Also, all reputable news outlets, including Fox, reported "tens of thousands." So the burden of proof is on those that claim 10 or 20 times that number."

    And my proof is the photos and camera shots those same networks used, from which we can see with our own eyes that Penn Avenue was densely packed all the way from the Capitol to 14th St NW.

    Are you saying those pictures are false or fraudulent? Or that they don't in fact show a completely packed Penn Avenue? I don't know how they all got there, but we all saw that they were there. How do you account for the images otherwise?

  28. I was there. There were more 912 protesters INSIDE the black family reunion than there were black family reunioners. There was virtually no one at that event. seriously, it was empty around the stages where people were performing at 3 pm. You can dispute that all you want. The permit that was issued was not for the grassy area, the only permit that the rally had was for the area right around the capital. We stayed at a hotel near the arboretum, at 7 on that rainy morning there was a steady stream of busses heading down the street towards freedom plaza. We had to wait for over an hour for a cab. We had to get a cab because there were no more busses. Freedom plaza was full and the FD and Police asked us to begin the march approximately one hour early. From what I could see after we left the Rally, the crowd was more lateral to the capital than down the mall. This is precisely because of the Black family reunion having the area cordoned off. Many of the protestors were still up PA avenue. I do not know the true numbers, but I can Guarantee you there were more than tens of thousands. It was Hundreds of Thousands.


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