Just How Large Was the Attendance At Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally?

In an era when satellite imagery allows one to count cars from space, and in a country fascinated with numbers (weekly box office take, home runs, calorie counting, etc) the MSM is having a difficult time with the math on Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally held on the Mall in Washington yesterday. By all reasonable estimates, nearly half a million people were in attendance, and yet, confusion (or perhaps subterfuge) rules the day.


CNN.com was reporting; “large crowds” and “People filled the park by the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool. . .” I have a question for the writers at CNN. If Beck’s 500,000-plus is considered a large crowd, what term would you use for the Sharpton rally held across town? Oddly enough, no mention of numbers or size was included in the description of Sharpton’s event. Was this done to diminish one or to equate the much smaller march with the enormous rally?

MSNBC.com reported, “Tens of thousands flock to the capital for a rally that largely avoided politics.” After attacking and analyzing the event for a week before it happened, the NBC’s minor league team mostly avoided putting the story in the spotlight, instead favoring a position on the U.S. news page. There was a mention on the homepage with a link to a video entitled “LaRussa, Pujols speak at Beck Rally” – huh?

Perhaps the most bizarre term used to describe or enumerate the crowd size comes from C-Span. In a piece titled, “RESTORING HONOR” RALLY DRAWS PROTEST ON “I HAVE A DREAM” ANNIVERSARY” the folks at C-Span described the audience size by stating; “droves of people descended on the nation’s steps of the Lincoln Memorial…” Droves?

However, CBS News wins the big prize here. In a web piece called Glenn Beck; “Something Beyond Imagination Is Happening,” the last-place news network actually reported their estimate for the crowd to be 87,000. Seriously. There has been no claim of website hacking by CBS, so one must assume that they meant what they wrote when stating; “Approximately 87,000 people attended the rally, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News. The estimate was made using aerial photos taken at noon, which was judged to be the height of the event. The estimate has a margin of error of 9,000 people.” CBS News is also the network setting records in the ratings department, the low ratings department.

To their credit, ABC News did state “hundreds of thousands of people from around the country converged on a hot summer day.” But the Disney-owned network did not miss the opportunity to focus their report on topics other than the actual content of the Restoring Honor rally, titling the attached video, “Rally Uproar” and including the incendiary comments made by Rev. Al Sharpton.

As one who attended the event and marveled at the size of the crowd, I can only speculate that the outlets underreporting or misreporting the size of the crowd had filed their stories long before the event, or perhaps they had made up their minds about its size, content and character well in advance of 8/28.

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