The story I wrote about the right dishonestly inflating the size of their large, but rather ordinary protest in Washington D.C. this past Saturday did better than I expected. To me, these kinds of outrageous lies have become the norm from conservatives and so were not entirely surprising, if not for the grand scale of it all.
Inflating crowd estimates is nothing new, regardless of party or ideology, but inflating a crowd size by 28 times is pretty darn low.
Even for Republicans.
But what happened that day was not the end of this story. A number of apparently stupid conservatives, in a desperate attempt to verify what is now known to be a lie propagated by a corporate lobbyist who organized the event in question, began a frantic search for statements by the media that backed up their absurd claim.
It didn’t matter to them that the wire services and national media outlets were all saying pretty much the same thing, or that ABC News, to which the 1.5-2 million lie was attributed, had quickly and forcefully rejected it as an outright fabrication.
It was automatically assumed by the right that the true crowd size was in the millions – because someone said it was – and that the liberal media was just trying to hold them down again.
This was, I suspect, the entire point of the lie; to give the right a cause to rally behind and yet another enemy to fight: the media.
NBC’s David Shuster, not exactly my idea an ideal brand name journalist – but he’ll serve the purpose – said that in his 20 years of covering protests and marches in D.C., he could tell the difference between tens of thousands of people, and millions. And these were not millions of people.
Statements just like that became more common as the day wore on until a consensus was finally reached. At most, the teabagger protests topped out at around 70,000 people, a far cry from the 1.5 million the FreedomWorks lobbyist had falsely attributed to ABC, and further still from the 2 million figure that only increased in size every time it was repeated in the right-wing echo chamber.
That stupidity has now exceeded a new threshold for WTF. Thomas Lifson, who I hear isn’t the only person this tripping all over themselves this week, quoted a spokesman for the National Park Service who said the 9/12 protests were a record, “we believe it is the largest event held in Washington D.C., ever.”
One of the many problems immediately apparent is that the spokesman, Dan Bana, doesn’t exist. David Barna, who did remark on the largest event ever held in D.C., was talking about President Obama’s inauguration – a statement made about nine months ago.
The irony of what is largely considered an anti-Obama protest supporter desperately citing Obama’s inauguration crowd size as one of their own is palpable, but that’s not even the most petty part of this embarrassment.
It’s the garbage.
Along with citing a non-existent person that made a statement almost ten months ago, two pictures were featured that purported to show the difference between conservative crowds, and liberal crowds. The picture from 9/21 was taken in the middle of the day during the protest with no trash on the ground, in a very wide open grassy area that goes on for hundreds of yards.
The picture from January shows a lot of trash build up on the sidewalks and surrounding area on a city street (actually most of the sidewalk is clear, meaning the trash had simply been pushed onto the grass to clear the area for foot traffic), and our view is obstructed by people and trees and continues no more than 20-40 yards.
So to show the green conservatives, you’ve got a very wide open space with very few people around, and that is contrasted with a cramped city street that had just been occupied by 4,000,000 people.
Disregarding the dishonest comparisons – we don’t even know where these photos actually came from, since they appear in a story quoting a person that doesn’t exist, making a statement 9 months ago about an entirely different event — 4,000,000 people are going to leave behind more trash than 70,000, that’s just a simple fact. It’s also somewhat amusing that conservatives – leading opponents of clean living and environmentalism – would care at all whether or not Washington D.C. (a liberal haven if ever there was one) was trashed in this way.
It’s a lot like these fake protests to begin with, claiming to protest excessive government spending while having remained utterly silent while Republicans doubled American’s national debt throughout most of this decade.
These people and that party have no credibility in America anymore, and the sad thing is that this behavior isn’t new. This kind of sloppy crap is exactly how this country got into countless messes over the last eight years. George W. Bush represents the conservative crowd that doesn’t just play it fast and loose with the facts, they just outright lie, and lie all the time.
And this is the ultimate result of that behavior.