Monday, September 14, 2009

Do the Math

Well over a million attended a rally in Washington, DC on Saturday, although The New York Times said it was only "tens of thousands." For the Times, the numbers shrink when the crowds are opposing Obama's plan to take over health care, European style.

4 comments:

Neil said...

Oh, but Doug, it was less than "thousands," it was only dozens.

Eighty-three thousand dozen, that is.

Brian said...

These guys seem to have put a lot of thought into estimating the crowd size:

http://www.gormogons.com/2009/09/how-many-people-were-at-big-912-tea.html

Ben said...

Trying to figure out the truth in this one, came across an author who makes a strong point - a crowd of 2,000,000 would have turned D.C. into a practically unlivable city, shutting down public transportation, etc. However, the size of the rally isn't necessarily the point. He goes on to say:

"This was not a small rally. It was also not, in comparison with something like the 2006 pro-immigration protests, a particularly large rally. It was a business-as-usual sort of rally. Mock the protesters at your peril: business as usual suddenly isn't so good for Democrats these days, and the sentiments of the 70,000 people who marched on Washington surely mirror those of millions more sitting at home. They were done a disservice by being represented by a liar like Kibbe." (Note: Kibbe is a reference to the conservative political activist who was apparently the first to blow the numbers out of proportion.)

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/09/size-matters-so-do-lies.html

Ben said...

The London Daily News has changed their number to "as many as one million people." No other news source that has to give an answer for its credibility is going that high.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1213056/Up-million-march-US-Capitol-protest-Obamas-spending-tea-party-demonstration.html

Most complete info I could find was at conservative Fox News, which says "tens of thousands," then goes on to include the following helpful tidbit:

A House leadership aide warned fellow Democrats that up to 2 million demonstrators could turn out.

"It looks like Saturday's event is going to be a huge gathering, estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to 2 million people," Doug Thornell, an aide to Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., wrote in a memo obtained by FOXNews.com.

But conservatives believe the memo is a ploy to inflate expectations for the turnout anticipating that it will fall short.

"It's an old political tactic to get out in front and make wild projections and when they're not met, claim their opponents don't have the juice," said Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, one of the organizers of the rally.


So, if there's any "liberal funny business," it's not in ABC or the Times under-reporting numbers, but in a Democratic aide trying to inflate expected numbers to make the actual rally seem small. Rally organizers don't put their numbers in the hundreds of thousands. (Speaking of which, I've found groups like National Taxpayers Union to be some of the more reliable, non-exaggerating fiscally conservative groups out there.)