Free Markets, Free People

So How Big Was The DC Tea Party?

The Daily Mail (UK) carries the story about the Tea Party in Washington DC:

Up to two million people marched to the U.S. Capitol today, carrying signs with slogans such as “Obamacare makes me sick” as they protested the president’s health care plan and what they say is out-of-control spending.

The line of protesters spread across Pennsylvania Avenue for blocks, all the way to the capitol, according to the Washington Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

Now perhaps the count is a bit high – Michelle Malkin quotes Parks and Recreation estimate 1.2 million and DC Police 1.5 million.

Other outlets, such as the Washington PostNY Times, ABC, MSNBC and AP describe the crowd in the thousands or tens of thousands.  Fox and CBS used the AP report.  CNN merely said the crowd stretched “for blocks” although one of the pictures accompanying the story claimed “thousands” had attended the rally.  And ABC has since sent an email out saying it never reported 1.5 million as was misattributed to them, but think the crowd size was only “60,000 to 70,000” based on a report by “the Washington, D.C., fire department.”

It was that email that got me interested in the number because it seemed ABC was really upset about being attributed with saying the rally as big as 1.5 million. And frankly, and I may be wrong, but I’ve never heard the DC fire department quoted previously in crowd estimates. Parks and Recreation? Yes. DC Metro Police? Yes. Fire Department? Uh, no.

Of course you can see where I’m headed with this – look at the line up of those reporting “in the thousands”. Look at those reporting in the “millions”.

I’m just interested to see how this all shakes out, because while I’m not at all good at crowd estimates, the few pics I’ve seen show a pretty large gathering considering some of the protests I’ve seen documented in DC.  Perhaps it’s just too early in the news cycle for there to be enough information to make a guess beyond “thousands” or “tens of thousands”, but when an overseas newspaper is talking about “2 million”, it makes you wonder why they’re comfortable with that number and our domestic outlets aren’t.



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39 Responses to So How Big Was The DC Tea Party?

  • You take what you can get. I’m surprised that MiniTru reported that this event happened at all.

    On a related note, I’ve been thinking about this for some time: what to do about MiniTru? Here we have a large, powerful organization directly responsible for informing the public and therefore shaping public opinion. It is clearly and obviously biased. It is also effectively unaccountable to the very public it allegedly serves.

    How can this problem be solved without trampling all over the First Amendment, which I in no way would ever suggest?

    • We do what we’ve been doing all along: Route information around these clowns as best we can. What did Fox report?

      • RetardoWe do what we’ve been doing all along: Route information around these clowns as best we can.

        While I agree that this is the obvious solution, where does it lead us? Either Fox and the handful of “conservative” media outlets will eventually become the only game in town (which is undesirable), or else the country will become increasingly balkanized between groups who don’t even share the same reality, much less the same philosophy. Consider the WoT: how can you have a rational discussion about how to keep our country safe from terrorists with people believe that 9-11 was an inside job? It’s the same as having a discussion about how to reach the New World with people who think that the earth is flat, or how to get to the Moon with people who believe that heavier-than-air flight is utterly impossible.

        DonWell, we can watch their ratings drop, and watch them go out of buisness.

        We can hope… sort of. Quite aside from the fact that I think that the left will NEVER let their propaganda outlets “go out of business” (we’ve already seen rumblings of newspaper “bailouts”, and Air America wouldn’t have last six months without big-time donors picking up the tab), what would replace them? No matter how much outlets like the AP, the big networks, the major papers, etc, twist, suppress, and at times fabricate the facts, we rely on them to know at least SOMETHING of what goes on in the world. Blogs like this one routinely cite MiniTru reports NOT because they are unimpeachable sources, but rather because they are about the only game in town.

        • You do nothing. And you let them beclown themselves constantly. There’s nothing you can do unless you want to destroy the 1st ammendment or go violent. And I know you don’t want either of those.

          Truth will out, even with the scum we call the legacy media trying to obstruct.

    • Well, we can watch their ratings drop, and watch them go out of buisness.

  • Gathering of Eagles organizers put it at 4.2 billion.

    • >>>>>Gathering of Eagles organizers put it at 4.2 billion.

      that is the total number of brain cells for the entire liberal population. High I know. Definitely a miscount

  • If they really think they can get away with using an estimate that’s off by two orders of magnitude, they’re not just phoning it in, they’re phoning it in from frickin’ Antarctica. How disconnected from reality do you have to be to insist on something that everyone’s eyes can tell is false?

    Whatever the number, this is one of the five largest protests in DC EVER. Possibly the largest ever.

  • I watched more CNN yesterday than I have in a long time (except when trapped in an airport) and it was as if the march on DC wasn’t even happening. Of course they showed Obama’s entire speech. I can’t believe I even flipped through the stuff like MSNBC and HLD. Nothing. I hope that the ordinary Americans have finally woke up.

  • Expect continued denial in the face of evidence to the contrary. These are the same people claiming that the town hall protests were nothing more than engineered and paid dissent which did not reflect the popular opinion, even when the dissenter’s position mirrored what was being shown in several national polls.

  • Don’t attribute Fox’s report to laziness.

    From the bits I’ve watched Fox, they enjoy the negative fallout on Obama, but otherwise support national health care while trying not to look like they support it. I suspect Rupert is in the category of not wanting to pay as much for hc for his US employees. Also suspect they’re a liking for illegal aliens labor too.

    Just my opinion after watching a sampling of reports.

  • Does it really matter what the MSM reports? It doesn’t change the reality of how many people did show up. And those who did are not happy with the way things are going, and it’s a pretty fair thing to say that the vast majority of them are going to vote.

    I knew plenty of ‘anti-war’ types who would take an entire day off to go party… I mean “protest”, but couldn’t be bothered to come in late on election day.

    Just because you close your eyes and plug your ears while sitting on the tracks doesn’t mean that train isn’t going to hit you. The MSM is going to learn that lesson eventually.

  • The best model I’d suggest is to compare the rally with the space occupied by the Million Man March, since the media gave us a firm headcount and its verification of that event. Given that the territory covered yesterday exceeded about four times that of the Million Man March, we can firmly state that the numbers exceeded four million.

    And by applying the Treasury department’s economic multipliers (used to “create or save” the millions of jobs they reference as the unemployment numbers continue to climb), we get a 2x factor for all the men that would have been there but had to watch NCAA football, (increasing the count to 8 million), another 1.2 million from those who had Saturday jobs, 3 million from those that would have attended but the ACORN and SEIU-paid busses never showed up to pick them up. That’s a cool 12.2 million protesting, and since I’m a risk professional with a quantitative degree in statistics and finance, it’s an estimate provided by an expert, using methods acceptable to our highest Treasury officials an the mainstream media.

    12.2 million protesters. Dang… that’s huge.

  • Billions and Billions and Billions…

    Where’s Carl Sagan when you need him?

  • Good points, McQ. Having overhead photos and video on the net makes a big difference: it was a lot of people. Especially if you compare to photos of other protests at the same location. People will spin numbers both ways, but numbers won’t matter when a Blue Dog sees the photos. He can decide with his own eyeballs. The same for fence-sitter voters.

    My question is why were so many people there? I was told in this very blog’s comments that the town hall protesters were a tiny minority, that everyone was busy living their lives and not paying attention, and that we could feel the momentum shift after Obama’s speech to Congress. Maybe Republicans and Fox paid them to be there? That’s a lot of money.

    My dad (a conservative) was there with a group. He had a great time and reported that everyone he saw was pleasant and civilized, although obviously angry with the situation. It wasn’t just about healthcare.

  • My favorite “MiniTru” headline (as docjim likes to call them) is this one:

    Thousands rally with or against Obama

    As president leads a health care rally in Minneapolis, protesters in Washington denounce his policies.

    If you dig deep in the article, they’ll eventually mention that the DC rally was larger, though they’re unwilling to say how much. After one paragraph at the top that mentions both rallies, they then spend four paragraphs on Obama’s rally before getting to the meat of the story on DC.

    If our journalism schools had a shred of professionalism and objectivity, this article and others like it would be eviscerated in classes all next week as examples of failed and biased journalism. The problem, of course, is that those j-school professors won’t see anything wrong with it.

  • This many racists haven’t descended on DC since the Klan marched!

    I mean, all anti-Obama protestors are racists….

  • What is important to note, ThinkProgress tells us, is not the size of the corwds, but all those racist and radical signs present. Of the four they highlight supposedly representitive of the hundreds of thousands of protestors, not one is racist (according to any non-leftist agitator), and another, while perhaps risable, is par for the Bush=Fascist; Bush=Hitler; bush=Monster fare that the left has served up these past 8 years.

    But that is their narrative, and to say otherwise would be to admit to the depth and breadth and sincerity of the tea party movement – a movement antithetical to the leftist activist’s real aim so well stated by Tom Friedman.

  • bains – there’s something rather interesting in the left’s “seeing messages of hate” in the signs. It’s very much akin to a rorschach test, to which the left implicates its inner thought by claiming to see fascist and racist messages.

    Most contemporary post-modern thought, especially of the deconstructionist school, would suggest that the left is tipping its hand of their true thought process in such declarations. We know that the progressive ideology is intertwined with twentieth century European fascist movements, and furthermore know that the co-opting of the liberal movement by the fascist progressives, led by Soros and other central-control seeking globalists, is likely to be illuminated by their semiotic disclosures.

    Each time we hear their accusations of hateful symbols in their language, or more fundamentally, encounter the sadist semiotic representation in comments like “teabagging,” we’re being provided with validation of what that progressive/liberal individual truly thinks, desires and fantasizes over. Our language and semiotics exposes who we truly are. If anything, this should give us great alarm at just what they have in mind through the take-over of all of our economy.

  • I caught this …
    Park Police estimate the crowd at tens of thousands

    I thought the Park Police stopped giving estimates after the (less than) Million Man March.

  • wikipedia of course is being repeatedly edited to only show the lower numbers. Right now it keeps being forced back to a number of 75,000. Anyone who has seen the photos knows that is an insanely LOW number but — the Lefties object to any reference that is not to a MSM source — so you cannot post links to photos on blogs as references.

    • I tried editing the Wikipedia page by merely including Matt Welch’s piece in Reason and the 1.5 million Youtube video as sources of alternative figures, and my edit was changed without anyone owning up as to even why.

      Definitely the liberal smog trying to throttle the truth.

      Which won’t work for them in the long run.

      And probably not even for this week.

  • The MSM has no reason to report truthful numbers on the 9/12 march.

    Even if they have a bad taste in their mouth from TAO’s performance so far, they would never give a positive report about a demonstration against ANY Democratic President.

    What they are not aware of is that the protesters aren’t a single ideological mass. I’d be willing to bet there were Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Libertarians, and the unaffiliated.

    And these were average people, for many this was probably the first protest they’ve ever been to.

  • Quick and dirty estimate:

    PA avenue was covered from Freedom Plaza to the Capital; that is about 1 mile (WH to Capitol 1.2 miles) of people on a street 6 lanes wide or 80 ft from Googe data. A mile is 5280 ft x 80 ft at 2.5 sq feet per person (Obama’s inauguration number for the mall) gives us over 168,960 people just there at any one time. This human traffic lasted for 3 hours from the media. With the average human walking speed of 3 miles per hour, that is 168,960 people passing every a point every 33 minutes or over 3 hours being 9 x 168,960 = 1,520,640. Although, like me not all people started at Freedom Plaza. Many went directly to the Capitol for good “seats” and not all came down PA Ave. The police also asked the protesters to leave the plaza two hours early. Nor does it count the time after 12;30 when people were still arriving or the people on the sidewalks along PA Ave. So the number of 1.5 million may be low.

  • September 13, 2009
    9/12 demonstration a record DC turnout: National Park Service
    Thomas Lifson
    The truth will out. Despite mainstream media attempts to characterize turnout as in the thousands, a spokesman for the National Park Service, Dan Bana, is quoted as saying “It is a record…. We believe it is the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.”

  • I was there. I could not fathom 60,000 vs. 1.5 mil till another attendee suggested that I envision our local pro football stadium maximum capacity. Definitely several stadiums’ worth of folks there. It was just so great to be around so many people who felt the same way that I do-that our country needs to consider the constitution more. And not just with Dem presidents, but with previous admins too! We just need our reps to stop spending more money till they figure out how to pay for the debt we are already in (before bankrupting our country completely-oops, maybe we’re already there). Hey, we are not teabaggers. Could we all agree on the PC term “Tea Party Patriots?”

  • I’m beginning to think that the protests are picking the wrong target. DON’T go to DC: organize protests around places like CNN headquarters, the NYT building, outside CBS, etc.

  • I was looking at multiple sites to see what people are using for estimates of crowd size and have to correct someone since I have done it professionally in the past as a retired USAF Imagery Analyst.

    In a typical medium to dense crowd a person is going to take up about 6 SqFt if you are using that as a metric and it will be a touch more (like 10-12 SqFt) if they are walking about. I personally take up 2.5 SqFt just standing still and not moving my arms about. Standing around at the 4th of July I would guess I took up about 5-6 Sq Ft (as in a 2 Ft x 3Ft zone)

    Also, based on the amount of traffic I had to go through at about 9:45AM on I-395 into DC and the fact I didn’t even know there was a protest going on would indicate the crowd was less then 200,000 at absolute most. The most reliable images I have seen I would estimate at between 75,000 and maybe 125,000 people range between the street and the mall.

    Disclaimer: all shots I have seen are relatively low angle which makes estimates harder and tend to greatly inflate the numbers. The only vertical shot I have seen was a fake taken from 1996 apparently.

    I really don’t care how many showed up, but get the numbers at least close to correct. Giving obviously false numbers always calls into question other “facts”.

  • Hello Fellow TEA Party Renaissance Folks:
    As one who was there personally, let me assure you there were far more than 75000 there. It was my first time in DC. I walked from Freedom Square to the Capitol. I started about 3 blocks from the front. And as I neared the square pool in front, I stopped to rest. For 30 minutes the crowd surged by about 40 people across. After 30 minutes, I realized it was coming to an end no time soon. At that point, I realized that the attendance had exceeded our wildest expectations. I then tried to make my way farther up the hill, where the speakers would be speaking from. It was so packed, it took me an hour to go about 2 blocks due to the constrictions security had set up. Each time I looked back where the march was coming from, it was still streaming in. Locals said that any event in excess of 50000 was considered a huge success.

    But after all of that, do all of us not realize that if the government, be it Democrat or Republican really wanted to know the size of Rallies, they have the technology to do so? Democrats and Republicans both want the room to spin the facts on everything so they can manipulate public opinion. It is not just Obama, it is both Political parties that want room to spin and deny?

    The sooner all of us realize this, the sooner we can make better decisions on how to proceed.

    Regardless, Corrupt Politicians now realize that “It is Alive”


    Don Mashak
    The Cynical Patriot