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Media Matters cites itself as expert source

October 12, 2009

9 12 one

Media Matters‘ Eric Boehlert  (or as I like to call him, “Eric the Excitable”) is at it again, making claims without linking to sources, other than… Media Matters.

This morning, Boehlert is mocking conservative activists for planning another protest he’s sure will be a laughable failure, just like the one in Washington on September 12. (So: if these “tea parties” and townhalls are so tiny, futile and ridiculous, why does the George Soros Steno Pool keep writing about them? Just asking.)

October 17, “Operation: Can You Hear Us Now” is asking citizens to protest liberal media bias by picketing their local tv and newspaper offices; the group charges that the media didn’t accurately report on the “2 million people protesting in D.C. in one of the biggest protests in US History.”

The grammatically challenged Boehlert finds this amusing and hopes you do, too:

Laugh along as I highlight the press didn’t miss that story…because 2 million people never showed up in D.C. According to best official counts, there were actually 1.9 million fewer people than that; about 70,000.

As proof, Boehlert cites… other Media Matters posts. You’d think he’d link the words “best official counts” to an official count or two. You’d be wrong.

The fact is, the D.C. capitol police and the National Parks Service have declined to release official counts. (Which may explain why Eric the Excitable couldn’t link to any.)

And why the refusal, you ask? Well:

The National Park Service actually has a methodology for crowd estimation; they just were forbidden by Congress from using it after the Million Man March came out to be less than half a million. That restriction mysteriously disappeared for the Obama inauguration, and USA Today published a useful article on it.

That’s Charlie Martin at PajamasMedia. com. Now, at the risk of getting all Zapruder on people: Martin used footage from the time lapse traffic camera on a D.C. street to reach a tally of 850,000 protesters at the 9/12 event.

Which is about the same number who reportedly attended President Obama‘s inauguration. I’d invite you to compare panoramic photographs taken at the 9/12 “tea party” with some snapped at the inauguration and draw your own conclusions.

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17 Comments
  1. October 12, 2009 9:16 am

    Kathy
    Have you noticed Media Matters goes by Media Matters for America? Has that always been the official name? Or is it a recent change? I’m thinking it is but I may be wrong.

  2. October 12, 2009 12:01 pm

    You know, I think that’s always been its full name, but even they rarely seem to use the full name. But hey, don’t question their patriotism, man!! 🙂

  3. October 12, 2009 12:05 pm

    As I have said before and will keep on saying, Media Matters NOT!

    Why keep lowering yourselves to the level of these slime trails at MM.

    They are pathetic misanthropes needy of regular sour milk breast feeding from the dried up mammaries of cave dwelling moonbats! Ignore them and they dry up and blow away for lack of attention!

    I do agree with the idea of attacking ALL media outlets as being conspiratorial complacent shills in the greatest political ripoff in American history!

  4. October 12, 2009 12:25 pm

    Speak not the name of evil, for to utter the name of perdition in angst is to invite him among you!

  5. daveinguelph permalink
    October 12, 2009 12:39 pm

    Tommy,

    Kathy watches the watchers and I thank her for that.

    How about Media Splatters or Media Mutters as alternatives?

  6. Mark J. Koenig permalink
    October 12, 2009 2:32 pm

    Thanks for an excellent post as usual, Kathy. As I wrote earlier regarding my attendance at the 9-12 march, I can vouch for the fact that there were EASILY very close to a million people there at the point that I was able to wend my way up to the Capitol and look down across the Mall. I wasn’t aware that anyone in the blogosphere had gained access to traffic camera (or any other) data from which to scientifically estimate the crowd, but I’m glad to hear that at least one person did.

    My estimate was based upon a quick-and-dirty “grid” method which any elementary school student could use to estimate the crowd size if given a decent aerial photograph. Unfortunately the Park Service has been ordered NOT to release any such photos, for reasons that are obvious. Can’t contradict the left’s narrative that the gathering was a miserable failure, now can we?

    As you say – look at the photos taken by those who were there. They speak for themselves.

  7. ChrisB permalink
    October 12, 2009 3:46 pm

    I hate to say it Kathy, but looking at the panoramic photo here (http://www.moonbattery.com/capitol-view-big.jpg), I don’t think the MSM estimate of 70,000 is too far out.

    Here’s a diagram I made using Paint and Google maps. The small red square marks the position of the photographer (as far as I can calculate it), with green sightlines to various landmarks. The yellow outline shows areas where you can see crowds in the photo. The grey outline marks areas where there might well be crowds, but they’re screened by trees or buildings, The big red square shows the absolute maximum possible extent of the crowd, an area of about 1500 x 1700 ft, enough for 500,000 people at 5 sq. ft per person.

    But that’s obviously an overestimate. The yellow zones cover maybe 15 percent of that area, maybe 80,000 people. The gray zones account for another 30 percent, which would add another 160,000, if they were tightly packed. That’s not realistic though: they’re mostly outlying areas that will have a lower density. Guesstimating a density of 50 percent of maximum, that’s 80,000; guesstimate 25 percent, that’s 40,000.

    So my back-of-the envelope total estimate is 120,000-160,000. Clearly there’s a huge margin of error. I wouldn’t swear that that 70,000 is too low, though I’d bet against it. On the other hand, the 800,000 plus that’s bandied about in some quarters is implausible.

    For comparison, here’s the crowd at Obama’s inauguration (http://www.eclecticelectronics.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/barack-obama-inauguration-crowd-500×333.jpg). It stretches all the way to the Washington Monument or beyond, 2500 ft or so from the Capitol. By contrast, the 9/12 crowd appears to peter out after Third Street, only 500 ft back.

    Of course, Obama’s popularity has been plummeting (not as fast as Clinton’s did at the same point in his presidency, but still remarkably quickly), and we can safely bet he will never bring out crowds like this again. The protesters have room for growth.

    • Tom Trevor permalink
      October 12, 2009 5:15 pm

      Gee broken links a aphoto of an empty space is all I see.

  8. ChrisB permalink
    October 12, 2009 3:47 pm

    Sorry, forgot to include the diagram:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/23045788@N06/4006513802/

  9. David Forsmark permalink
    October 12, 2009 5:35 pm

    Media Matters is just following the example of The One. Barack Obama quotes himself to prove himself all the time. He will say, “As I said before,” as though now that he’s said it twice, what more do we want?

  10. October 13, 2009 8:44 am

    So, let me get this one point straight.

    The reason that there was no official release of numbers was because CONGRESS forbids that following the less-than-expected turnout of the Million Man March?

    Am I supposed to believe that this “rule” (as no official law is cited nor exists) was put in place AFTER the MMM?

    Considering that the MMM was in Oct. of ’95 and considering that Newt took over the HoR in January of ’95, does that mean that Newt is a secret supporter of The Nation of Islam?

  11. October 13, 2009 2:05 pm

    Sadly, citing oneself is very, very common in academic writing.

  12. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 13, 2009 2:46 pm

    Mnut
    No the park service stopped issuing estimates because Calypso Louie threatened to sue them because they dared say his hoped for numbers were less than half.
    I watched the time laspsed photos and there was easily close to a million people. It is simpley untrue that there were just 75K

  13. Revnant Dream permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:37 pm

    If this doesn’t show how deformed information dispersion along political lines has become. Nothing will.

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