Four Million Attend One Nation Working Together Rally!
Well, not really, but if this was a Republican Teanut Corporation rally, this would be the headline trumpeted across the internet. The One Nation rally today was large, but the attendance figures spread by progressive news sites proves that they do not engage in the same type of propaganda that is a epidemic with conservative news outlets. Both sides are not the same.
According to their website, the One Nation rally was a march for jobs, justice, and education, and is expected to re-energize the progressive movement that was instrumental in election victories in 2006 and 2008. It brought together a variety of left leaning groups fighting for these themes, as well as LGBT rights, comprehensive immigration reform, peace, civil rights, environmental protection, and worker’s rights.
The USA Today described the One Nation rally in ‘One Nation’ rally offers ‘antidote’ to Tea Party:
Thousands of people from dozens of liberal groups across the USA are marching on the National Mall today as “one nation,” saying they want to call attention to the needs of working-class Americans. One Nation Working Together, the coalition organizing the event, wants the powers of Washington to create jobs and help those without them, end racial profiling and other discrimination in the criminal justice system, and push for immigration changes and quality, affordable education.
Although this event did not have the corporate media advertising that Glenn Beck’s national Tea Party events did, preliminary reports based on a satellite image suggest attendance figures might be comparable, but it is too early to speculate. Beck’s latest DC Tea Party sermon gathered 87,000, although some figures in the conservative media tried to exaggerate these numbers many fold, as high as 1.6 million.
It was the exact same thing a year before during Glenn Becks 912 DC Tea Bagging, a perfect example of ‘creative’ information control to push an agenda. Fox News’ Glenn Beck had what was supposed to be the mother of all rallies in Washington DC on September 12th, 2009. Nobody really knew what to expect about the turnout, but due to the 6 months of planning and repeated advertising on Fox, many of us suspected it might fall in the 300,000 range, the same size as the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party protests in April 2009.
The first figures began to circulate that very day, propagated from conservative media outlets: 2 million. This would have been a huge success for this rally, the only problem was, the figure wasn’t even close to being true. The fire and park service did not officially release an estimate, which is something they have not done under direction of congress since they were sued after the Million Man March. In this case, someone working for them unofficially released a 60-70k estimate.
There was zero credible evidence in the 2 million figure. In fact, from the start, right wing sources have been using every trick in the book to circulate this grossly inflated estimate. For instance, trying to pretend this very old photo was from 912. Some people tried to claim that there were ‘hundreds of thousands’ of additional subway riders that day, when in reality, ridership only increased 87,000. As mounting evidence began to refute this grossly inflated figure, various conservative groups began to downscale their estimates.
FreedomWorks (the main organizers or the event) retracted their gross inflation to a ‘conservative’ estimate of 600-800k. Fox News only claimed 400k, and they were the main advertisers of the event. The National Taxpayers Union (another main sponsor of the event) put its estimates between 75-300k. However, the best estimates still tend to fall in the 60-70k range, with low estimates of only 30k.
Feel free to use your own judgment here, find a good aerial photo and contrast it with how many you think would be there by comparing it to the National Park Service crowd estimate photo. Note that the crowd must be packed tight, like during the Obama inauguration and also remember there was a black history event on the mall that day.
A few good resources eventually documented how the numbers got so grossly over-exaggerated . Becks 912 DC rally demonstrates a clear push by the conservative media towards ridiculously high attendance (from 15-100 times what was really there). You would think they would have learned their lesson about this, but just a few short weeks later, Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) organized an anti- health care reform rally at the Capitol. When Sean Hannity reported on the event, he and Fox ‘News’ were quickly caught recycling Beck’s 912 footage to try and once again artificially inflate the attendance.
Both sides are not the same when it comes to credibility. While the conservatives perpetually hyper-inflate attendance figures in a fairly transparent attempt at propaganda, liberals are more grounded in their estimates, and tend to have far more reliable information, the estimates for the number of people showing up at Tea Parties vs. those rallying at One Nation Working Together prove it.