September 24, 2005

Huge Waves?

Via ABC News:

Opponents of the war in Iraq rallied by the thousands Saturday to demand the return of U.S. troops, staging a day of protest, song and remembrance of the dead in marches through Washington and other American and European cities.

More than 2,000 people gathered on the Ellipse hours before the showcase demonstration past the White House, the first wave of what organizers said would be the largest Washington rally since the war began.

2,000 protestors? That is hardly a wave; more like a trickle. The following waves must be huge...

Major Update: Sniffy liberal "Maha" blogging from the protest says Reuters claims more than 100,000 protestors and says "The turnout was massive."

The Reuters claim was from reporter Lisa Lambert. Reuters photographer Jim Bourg immediately contradicted that claim with the caption for the photo accompanying Lambert's article, when he claims:

A large rally of anti-war demonstrators gathers on the Ellipse near the White House (top) as seen from the top of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. September 24, 2005. Tens of thousands of protesters [bold added - ed.] gathered in the nation's capital in support of anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan, who lost a son serving in the U.S. armed forces in Iraq, and demonstrated for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and an end to the war in Iraq.

As Bourg's photo shows, a large number of protestors near the back of the crowd decided to show up wearing grass-colored unitards.

An unsigned AAP article also agreed with Lambert that there was something over 100,000, and even printed the protest organizers estimate of 300,000. No other reporter from any other news organization has so far claimed anything near this number.

Interesting, because the NY Times claims only "thousands." al Jazerra, who is decidedly not pro-administration, claims just 2,000 [note: from early protest]. The BBC said merely that organized "hoped for "100,000," but would not confirm a number.

Another Update: Other insightful commentary on today's protests from The Anchoress, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, Little Green Footballs, Jeff Goldstein, Gateway Pundit, Ox Blog.

Yet Another Update: Protestors, or booklovers?

Also, poor little Maha couldn't handle her numbers being exposed as cherry-picked, and so I've been banned by another liberal blog. I can't tell you how much sleep I'll lose.

Final Update to this post:
Via Smash, a Marine in Iraq talks about those that "Support our troops."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 24, 2005 12:03 PM | TrackBack

Reuters reports more than 100,000 people at the Washington protest today:

I am still in Washington. The turnout was massive. The photo in the story is deceptive, because most of the people who marched didn't go to the Ellipse first.

I repeat: More than 100,000. Do try to get it straight.

Posted by: maha at September 24, 2005 06:09 PM


Can't let pesky facts get in th eway of good republican snark.

BTW, how many Protest Warriors showed up? More than 29?

Posted by: dr luba at September 24, 2005 07:06 PM

The Washington Post says Washington police estimated the crowd at 150,000. The organizers say 200,000. Event organizers always highball; the police always lowball. Thus, the actual number is probably 175,000.

I said on my blog that you righties would use that Reuters photo to try to lie about the turnout. Truth is, most of the marchers never got to the Ellipse before the march. A big chunk of the crowd was out of the view of that photo.

I saw no Protest Weenies, or at least no persons identifying themselves as such. There was a little group of unaffiliated counterprotesters, maybe 20, holding up signs near the beginning of the march. We sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" for them. I hope they enjoyed it. Those were the only counterprotesters I saw.

Posted by: maha at September 24, 2005 08:07 PM

So you've managed to find a pair of liberal media sources and the protest organizers who will give you the numbers you want. You forgot to mention the D.C. police cheif who said you got "about that" on CNN.

You even dismiss the Reuters photographer, even though he was at the same rally, at the same time. This was not the only pciture he took. You know that, right? the others were crowd shots, and I think I was more than fair picking the one shot I did. This photo makes the rally look sparsely attended. The other shots by Bourg make your allies look nearly insane.

As for Bourg's credibility, he has no presumable vested interest in the turnout, and wanted throughout the site, and still said the numbers were in the tens of thousands.

Maha, you , on the other hand, had a vested interest and as you show on your own blog, a desperate need to prove that more than 29 people would show up.

Still, I find it quite amusing that you have to cherry-pick sources to get what you wanted.

Even then, you cannot even claim hey were all anti-war protestors, but an amalgamation of all sorts of left wing causes... it looked like the movie PCU, without the star power.

Sad, really.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 24, 2005 08:25 PM

can nobody get a satellite photo or one form a news helicopter?

then we can estimate the actual attendance by doing sq. ft.

Posted by: reliapundit at September 24, 2005 08:50 PM

Protest, I've been called worse. Oh well, I could have been there today, but instead of participating, I donated all the money that would have gone to travel/hotel to charities in the wake of Katrina. I figure that does more good than getting flipped off by idiots all day...

Posted by: Josh at September 24, 2005 08:52 PM

Dude, saying it was about 2000 makes you look like a total retard. There's well over 2000 in that photo and reports say that not everyone who marched went to that site. If the cops say about 150K, then I'd go with that.

Doesn't surprise me at all that there are over 100 thousand people who showed up to say the war is stupid considering that well over half of Americans (you know - the MAJORITY) think it was a mistake to invade Iraq.

Anyhow there were more than enough protesters to get chicken Widdle to leave town for a few days. "Overseeing Rita relief efforts from COLORADO?" Riiiiight.

Posted by: Innocent Bystander at September 24, 2005 09:09 PM

Innocent Bystander,

What makes someone look most like "a retard?"

Providing a link and quote from an ABC News story that clearly says the 2,000 story is from an early morning protest, or completely misreading that quote?

Social promotion doesn't work, does it?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 24, 2005 09:32 PM

When the MSM reprint press releases without attribution or fact checking and major news organizations give reports of crowds that differ by by factors of 50, why should we believe anything they tell us. That picture could be photoshopped, for all we know, and given the near universal hostility of the press toward the president's policies, I wouldn't put it past them to use photos furnished by ANSWER.

This reminds me of The Fountainhead but with about 10,000 Elsworth Touheys.

Posted by: AST at September 24, 2005 10:39 PM

grass-colored unitards


Good for you, Josh, although PW's videos are some of my favorite films. I'm sure you must be devastated to have been publicly exposed as a "Weenie." Sounds like the "retarded" arguments I hear from lefties on those PW films I like so much.

Whatever the number of people there today, I'd be interested in getting a breakdown of how many were there to voice opposition to the Iraq war, and how many were there to voice their hatred for Israel and/or support for Aristide, Chavez, Hamas, Al Qaeda, etc., etc.

Posted by: John from WuzzaDem at September 24, 2005 10:41 PM

what a joke these people are and the reporters and even worse. !

Posted by: ! at September 24, 2005 11:29 PM

Most of those videos are indicative of the events I have attended, John. I love watching them though..."Stop the violence or I'll kick your fucking fascist ass!" Priceless.

Like your blog too, BTW.

Posted by: Josh at September 25, 2005 12:19 AM

If the cops said it was 150,000 then you have to take the square of their number to get the 'truth' so it was more like, lets see, carry the one, take the least common dominatrix, and there you have it, 135 bajillion actual antiwar protestors.

Posted by: spacemonkey at September 25, 2005 12:58 AM

I very seldom read those crazy lefty blogs. My gag reflex ain't what it used to be. But I had to check out what the deal was and ....oh, boy. What a bunch of looney crap. Reminded me of when I was young and had to scoop out the barn after the cows had been in there. Anyway, I noticed that, as with all looney lefties, she repeated the phrase "We are the majority." several times...hoping eventually somebody would believe it. ISn't that how lies work?

Posted by: Annie at September 25, 2005 01:00 AM

Somehow that photo just doesn't cut it when one compares it to the pictures of the demonstrations for liberation from the Syrian occupiers by the Lebanese ... remember those? Or even the anti-terrism protest in Iraq which the MSM mentioned in a whisper, if at all .... Now those had a significant turnout especially when one considers that the participants risked being identified and killed by their fellow Muslims. Our gov't is so rotten these DC protestors feared they would be seized and carried off never to be seen or heard from again? Not.

What I still can't get is these anit-war folks don't get that the number of people who would die as a result of a coalition pullout and the ensuing boldness of despots and fanatics in Iraq and elsewhere would surely be more than the crowd in the picture -- which means, if the anti-war crowd thinks they can count so well, deaths of certainly "more than 100,000" and certainly "massive." It would be nice if they would check with the designated victims before they consign them to certain death. One might start by counting January's purple fingers ...

Posted by: JAL at September 25, 2005 01:28 AM

The NYT correctly noted that the National Park Service no longer provides official estimates for large gatherings in Washington. Officially, as Reuters reported, Washington police declined to comment on the size of the rally. So the comments of Chief Ramsey or anonymous police quoted elsewhere are speculation. Knight-Ridder -- which no sane person can accuse of being a member of the VRWC -- reported that "The area near the rally stage was often sparsely populated, but the streets around the Ellipse and White House were filled with thousands of people." This is why an accurate estimate will be impossible, though I note that the concert was supposedly the draw.

The K-R story also notes that an anti-war march at last year's Republican National Convention in New York City drew between 250,000 and 400,000. Which is probably why the organizers are now claiming that 300,000 showed up. These are the same groups who claimed that 500,000 showed at a 2003 rally. So even by ANSWER's own inflated estimates, the numbers went down.

Posted by: Karl at September 25, 2005 01:58 AM

no doubt you are a victim of that charade yourself.

Posted by: urban_archeologist at September 25, 2005 02:31 AM

As Bourg's photo shows, a large number of protestors near the back of the crowd decided to show up wearing grass-colored unitards.

That photo is only one area, at one point in time. If you notice the horizontal band of people in the foreground, it stretches off of the picture. This is a stream of people marching/converging.

I stopped and watched the march for about 10 minutes, and the entire street was full for the time I stood there. I have no idea what the total was, but it was at least "tens of thousands." So don't focus on the "2,000" figure, and only on the ellipse. The real total might be 30,000 or it might be higher. Dunno. But it was a fairly large protest by average standards.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 25, 2005 05:39 AM

I think it was last year, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an article about the actual number of people in a peace protest in SF. The organizers said 250,000, the police said 200,000. They did time lapse aerial photography, and counted the number of protesters. They came up with a number of 65,000 actual people. So, the actual number was 1/3 to 1/4 the initial estimate. My guess, maybe 25,000 - 35,000 yesterday. Here is the supporting link.

Posted by: Marc at September 25, 2005 11:00 AM

There is an easy rule of thumb to apply to crowds,if the pictures don't show large crowds and the organisers lie,the drowd is small.Huge crowds make great pictures,if the pictures aren't there,neither were the people.

Posted by: Peter at September 25, 2005 11:44 AM

As I was leaving the protest a customer service attendant at the Metro told me they had sold over 75,000 tickets above average for a saturday, just on that one line alone. I’d say, and this is a conservative estimate, that there were somewhere around 150 to 200,000 people. It’s funny that rightwing bloggers keep using that one ariel photo, it doesn’t even cover a tenth of the crowd…LOL. You guys count people as well as you balance budgets!

Posted by: fred at September 25, 2005 06:53 PM
hey had sold over 75,000 tickets above average for a saturday, just on that one line alone.


How many lines are there per station, and how many stations are there in the Washington, DC area?

And that just includes the train riders! What about the bus riders, those who flew in, and those who drove their own cars?

Why, if there were 75,000 extra people in just that one line, there must have been at least a few billion people at that protest, right Fred?

Um, yeah...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 25, 2005 09:13 PM

"a customer service attendant at the Metro told me they had sold over 75,000 tickets"

Very interesting. Since the tickets are sold by machines, how did he come-up with that number.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 26, 2005 01:20 AM

So you only "saw" a handful of counter-protesters, and the people on C-Span were what, made up? Pot, kettle, black.

Posted by: HH at September 26, 2005 02:59 AM

I'm just relating what the lady that works at the train station told us. I saw approxamatly 200 counter protestors altogether, I don't know what the offical count was.I think the lack of msm coverage will always have an impact on the final tally for either side. I think with all that has got out the assumption that 2,000 people were there is laughable.

Posted by: Fred at September 26, 2005 07:39 AM

Again, R.I.F., Fred.

Reading Is Fundamental. The initial ABC News report citing 2,000 protestors was for the first Saturday morning protest, not the total day's protest.

I haven't determined yet if the liberals griping about that number are simply victims of social promotion that cannot read, or if they are being deliberately obtuse.

After realizing that nobody was buying the 150,000 figure that the Washington Post tried to float, the MSM seems to have determined that they will try to propagate the 100,000 number Lisa Lambert (Reuter's) got from one of the ANSWER organizers. That is your source for this figure.

Rank and file officers put the figure at about 30,000-50,000, which is far more consistent with wide-area crowd photos on both conservative and liberal blogs (including the widely cited Bradblog) and news sources. The crowd estimate was also inflated by the National Book Festival also being half on the mall, which has drawn over 70,000 visitors each of the last two years. 70,000 book-lovers and 30,000 protestors give us a very nice and neat figure of 100,000 people on the ground. How convenient is that?

As I'm typing this comment it is Monday morning, and I'm starting to do a "post-game" dissection of the protest and perhaps the most interesting detail is that the protestors all seem to fall under the general heading of "the usual suspects."

IMF protestors, Free Palestine anti-Israeli types, conspiracy theory nuts and anarchists, oh my. As a protest that was supposed to be picking up support from the general public, it utterly failed, showing that while the public may not like how the War in Iraq is going (and how could they, with what the media shows), they aren't willing to jump on the protest bandwagon. This past weekend’s protest might have been the "last hurrah" for an anti-war movement that can’t seem to gain traction, and who may have really screwed up choosing such a self-serving media whore as Cindy Sheehan as their poster child (and that is just what Daily Kos posters consider her).

While I’m sure that nobody on the left will agree, I think the anti-war movement died this past weekend.

Movements get to a point of critical mass and expand, or implode. Everything the left has done to promote the anti-war agenda had led up to this past weekend’s protest in what seemed to be an all or nothing gamble. It didn’t live up to the hype, not did it get the widespread media coverage it hoped for. There is little they (the left) can do between now and the next round of Iraqi elections, and if they elections are successful and/or the insurgency continues to get pummeled by the Iraqi Army like it did in Tal Afar last week, the myth that we aren’t winning this war will go up in smoke, and the American people will never trust the media or the left wing ever again, which could lead to another shakeup in the Democratic Party. This could be quite interesting as it develops over time.

On the other side, the crowd of 200-400 pro-soldier demonstrators yesterday was anemic, and probably shouldn’t have been held at all.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 26, 2005 09:17 AM

Did anyone notice that Fred said 'ariel photo'!?
Thats a hoot coming from these pro-Palestinian wannabe terrorists! Remember, when you are a radical size makes a difference. However, looking at the pictures, one can quickly notice the lack of babes who support their cause. Other than that one rather large frumpy fat woman dressed in Pink.....They say Code Pink but if you were in bed with massive protestor it would be CODE RED!

Posted by: dickiedee at September 26, 2005 05:33 PM

I won't bother you anymore, I can see how this whole thing has you all shook up anyways. I'm not going to even take a stab at an actual figure, I just know that it was larger than the march at the RNC last year. It's a sad point of view you and your followers have here.

P.S. Are you anti-war...or pro-terrorist?

Posted by: Fred at September 26, 2005 07:45 PM

This from a man trying to yank a chance at democracy out from under the feet of 56 million people.


Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 26, 2005 07:53 PM

"I'm just relating what the lady that works at the train station told us."

And the drunk on the corner told you?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 26, 2005 09:54 PM

He told me, "I'm George W. Bush, and I've approved this message." He also said that the confederate yankee was a good man, just like his old pail "Brownie." Did you see "Brownie" take a hammering today?

Posted by: Fred at September 27, 2005 08:08 PM

A quote from Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia...

"Protesters from around the country joined a march in Washington D.C. organized by ANSWER Coalition and United for Peace and Justice to promote peace and an end to the occupation of Iraq. Organizers claim that around 250,000 people attended the demonstration. Police said that 150,000 was "as good a guess as any". C-SPAN, which broadcast the pre-march speeches, is said to have estimated 500,000. The demonstration route was chosen to be close to the White House, though President George W. Bush was away at the time."

C-SPAN estimated 500,000... Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't true. Accept it.

Posted by: Kris at October 18, 2005 01:13 AM