Remarkably blatant media bias in Beck crowd counting

Sure you expect bias - of the more subtle and deniable kind.

But the deliberate downplaying of crowd numbers at the Beck rally shows that the major media outlets really don't care if their wildly underestimated totals (or in the case of WaPo deliberate deception) are challenged. The left has their backs and they know only conservative media will call them on it.

Perhaps the Washington Post outright deception takes the cake. William Jacobsen:

WaPo's article about the rally carried a time stamp of 1:38 p.m., but the photo of a near empty crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial clearly was taken long before the tens or hundreds of thousands of rally participants arrived. The caption says "Glenn Beck Rally Draws Thousands," but the photo is not of the rally.

 

Bill adds that the Post updated the image later but for several hours after the rally had concluded, this was the picture the paper was going with.

The actual crowd looked like this:

In addition to WaPo's deception, there was this weird headline by CBS News:

Glenn Beck Rally Attracts Estimated 87,000

It turns out CBS commissioned a crowd estimate from an outfit called AirPhotosLive.com. That's all fine and dandy except the company makes no claim on its website that it has any kind of expertise whatsoever in crowd counting.

Any kind whatsoever.

Apparently, that didn't deter the network formerly known as the Gold Standard of news outlets from publishing a number that AirPhotos came up with (perhaps to please their client and feed their known bias?).

And what of that number - 87,000? Sounds authoritative, exact, measured - and not very impressive. Why not say 80,000? Or 90,000? The idea that anyone can actually make an estimate like that is outrageous.

Charlie Martin, Science and Technology Editor at PJ Media , applies a little less bias and a little more realism to the crowd counting question:

Since the last time we made an estimate, my own technology has improved. Using Google Earth, I constructed a polygon that covers the apparent area of the crowd, and another that takes in just the reflecting pool (since there are not a lot of people standing in the water). With the aid of an excellent online tool, we find the enclosing area is about 223,000 square meters and the reflecting pool about 26,000 square meters. By applying only the least bit of advanced math, we get a total area for the crowd of about 197,000 square meters. The Park Service considers a "dense crowd" to be around 10 square feet per person, or about 0.93 square meters per person - call it 1.1 people per square meter.  If the whole area were packed that densely, we'd have about 215,000 people.

Of course, it's clear from these pictures that the whole area isn't that tightly packed; on the other hand, we don't know when the photos were taken. So let's make a range of estimates.

Maximum: 215,000 people
90 percent 200,000
75 percent 163,000
50 percent 108,000
CBS News Estimate 87,000
40 percent 86,000
These are relatively small estimates compared to some, so let's just note that I'm taking a very conservative approach:

  • I'm only using photographs of the reflecting pool area itself.
  • I'm not attempting to add in the people around the Lincoln Memorial, since I don't have a good photo of that.
  • I didn't attempt to include people between the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool.
So these should be considered very conservative estimates, especially as we think about the lower percentages. The total could easily be, say, twice the 75 percent estimate, or about 330,000 people..

Read the entire article because the photos don't tell the entire story.

Rally organizers applied for a permit estimating 300,000 would show up. I actually think Charlie's guess is a little optimistic judging from pictures of the Mall during MLK's speech. That crowd estimate was at 500,00 and it appears from my eyeballing the two photos that Beck's rally probably drew more than half that number (there were many more people between the reflecting pool and Washington Monument for King's speech. The Mall was actually jammed almost back to the Monument and there were thousands of people listening to the speech between the Monument and the Capitol building).

In the end, this crowd guestimating exercise is necessary because if there was no pushback against these extraordinary biased numbers, they would stand. If for no other reason, the record must be set straight for history. At least a quarter of a million Americans turned out for a rally to restore America. Will history see this as the last gasp of America as she once was, as she was meant to be? Or will it be recorded that this was the moment when we turned things around and began a revival of conservative values and traditions?

Only time can answer that question.
Sure you expect bias - of the more subtle and deniable kind.

But the deliberate downplaying of crowd numbers at the Beck rally shows that the major media outlets really don't care if their wildly underestimated totals (or in the case of WaPo deliberate deception) are challenged. The left has their backs and they know only conservative media will call them on it.

Perhaps the Washington Post outright deception takes the cake. William Jacobsen:

WaPo's article about the rally carried a time stamp of 1:38 p.m., but the photo of a near empty crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial clearly was taken long before the tens or hundreds of thousands of rally participants arrived.

The caption says "Glenn Beck Rally Draws Thousands," but the photo is not of the rally.

 

Bill adds that the Post updated the image later but for several hours after the rally had concluded, this was the picture the paper was going with.

The actual crowd looked like this:

In addition to WaPo's deception, there was this weird headline by CBS News:

Glenn Beck Rally Attracts Estimated 87,000

It turns out CBS commissioned a crowd estimate from an outfit called AirPhotosLive.com. That's all fine and dandy except the company makes no claim on its website that it has any kind of expertise whatsoever in crowd counting.

Any kind whatsoever.

Apparently, that didn't deter the network formerly known as the Gold Standard of news outlets from publishing a number that AirPhotos came up with (perhaps to please their client and feed their known bias?).

And what of that number - 87,000? Sounds authoritative, exact, measured - and not very impressive. Why not say 80,000? Or 90,000? The idea that anyone can actually make an estimate like that is outrageous.

Charlie Martin, Science and Technology Editor at PJ Media , applies a little less bias and a little more realism to the crowd counting question:

Since the last time we made an estimate, my own technology has improved. Using Google Earth, I constructed a polygon that covers the apparent area of the crowd, and another that takes in just the reflecting pool (since there are not a lot of people standing in the water). With the aid of an excellent online tool, we find the enclosing area is about 223,000 square meters and the reflecting pool about 26,000 square meters. By applying only the least bit of advanced math, we get a total area for the crowd of about 197,000 square meters. The Park Service considers a "dense crowd" to be around 10 square feet per person, or about 0.93 square meters per person - call it 1.1 people per square meter.  If the whole area were packed that densely, we'd have about 215,000 people.

Of course, it's clear from these pictures that the whole area isn't that tightly packed; on the other hand, we don't know when the photos were taken. So let's make a range of estimates.

Maximum: 215,000 people
90 percent 200,000
75 percent 163,000
50 percent 108,000
CBS News Estimate 87,000
40 percent 86,000
These are relatively small estimates compared to some, so let's just note that I'm taking a very conservative approach:

  • I'm only using photographs of the reflecting pool area itself.
  • I'm not attempting to add in the people around the Lincoln Memorial, since I don't have a good photo of that.
  • I didn't attempt to include people between the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool.
So these should be considered very conservative estimates, especially as we think about the lower percentages. The total could easily be, say, twice the 75 percent estimate, or about 330,000 people..

Read the entire article because the photos don't tell the entire story.

Rally organizers applied for a permit estimating 300,000 would show up. I actually think Charlie's guess is a little optimistic judging from pictures of the Mall during MLK's speech. That crowd estimate was at 500,00 and it appears from my eyeballing the two photos that Beck's rally probably drew more than half that number (there were many more people between the reflecting pool and Washington Monument for King's speech. The Mall was actually jammed almost back to the Monument and there were thousands of people listening to the speech between the Monument and the Capitol building).

In the end, this crowd guestimating exercise is necessary because if there was no pushback against these extraordinary biased numbers, they would stand. If for no other reason, the record must be set straight for history. At least a quarter of a million Americans turned out for a rally to restore America. Will history see this as the last gasp of America as she once was, as she was meant to be? Or will it be recorded that this was the moment when we turned things around and began a revival of conservative values and traditions?

Only time can answer that question.

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