More games with conservative rally attendance

The size of two recent protests has been greatly inflated; Jon Stewart catches one egregious example


Alex Koppelman
November 11, 2009 9:01PM (UTC)

A couple months back, there was a pretty sizeable protest, organized by Glenn Beck and eventually embraced by conservatives of all stripes, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Problem was, some people on the right didn't like saying that the protest attracted only as many people as it did -- reliable estimates range up to about 70,000, which is nothing to sneeze at -- and so the numbers got wildly inflated with incredible speed. Old photos circled around, purportedly proving the claims made by some that as many as two million people were there.

That controversy has basically died down now. But there was another protest in front of the Capitol last week, this one organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Again, the crowd was decently large -- about 10,000 to 20,000. But again, that wasn't enough for some people. Like, say, Bachmann and Fox News' Sean Hannity. Bachmann was on Hannity's show recently, and claimed that the actual attendance was more like 20,000 to 45,000. Well, Hannity had to back that up, of course, and he had video to do so, b-roll of a boisterous conservative crowd taking over the Capitol lawn.

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Problem was, as the "Daily Show" revealed Tuesday night, it was the wrong crowd -- not the one from Bachmann's protest, but the one from two months earlier. The foliage, or lack thereof, was a dead giveaway.

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Update: Hannity will reportedly address this on his show Wednesday night.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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