Mall attendance at the Trump inauguration
Sean Spicer, Trump’s new press secretary, remonstrated the media yesterday for underreporting the attendance at the inauguration. The press was affronted, because it is pretty clear that Spicer’s claim of record attendance is absurd. This can be seen in the following picture comparisons of the Mall for the morning of the Trump inauguration at 11:04 a.m. and for the Obama 2009 inauguration at 11:30 a.m. The thinness of the crowd for Trump is pretty stark, made even more so by the white tarps put over the grass on the Mall for the first time.
CNN has released a billion-pixel interactive photograph that the user can both move around and zoom into. It shows a very different picture from the photograph above. If you zoom into it, you can see that the crowd in the Mall goes all the way back to the Washington Monument.
The first picture above is at 11:04am. The interactive picture is taken during the inaugural speech, about an hour later.
Mark Twain said, “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.” I guess we can modify that to “lies, damn lies and pictures.” To a skeptical Deplorable, the timing of the pictures on the Mall – i.e., one hour before Trump’s inauguration – and the lack of follow-up on those pictures on the web appear to be fabrication of fake news.
Later in the day, at the end of the inaugural parade, there were empty bleachers at the president’s viewing stand. But that is not the point at issue in terms of the Mall and attendance at the inauguration.
The press has now internalized the meme that Spicer lied about attendance at the inauguration and that the lie is easily confirmable. Except that he didn’t, and it isn’t.
No surprise. We knew it was going to be a battle.