Sunday, 13 September 2009

How many rightwingnuts does it take to make total asses of themselves?

So, how many brain-damaged rightwingnuts were there in Washington yesterday?

Nate Silver is enlightening.
But yesterday, someone told a real whopper. ABC News, citing the DC fire department, reported that between 60,000 and 70,000 people had attended the tea party rally at the Capitol. By the time this figure reached Michelle Malkin, however, it had been blown up to 2,000,000. There is a big difference, obviously, between 70,000 and 2,000,000. That's not a twofold or threefold exaggeration -- it's roughly a thirtyfold exaggeration.

The way this false estimate came into being is relatively simple: Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, lied, claiming that ABC News had reported numbers of between 1.0 and 1.5 million when they never did anything of the sort. A few tweets later, the numbers had been exaggerated still further to 2 million. Kibbe wasn't "in error", as Malkin gently puts it. He lied. He did the equivalent of telling people that his penis is 53 inches long.

Malkin, who to her credit later corrected the error, frets that it might be used to by liberals to "discredit the undeniably massive turnout". She's right to be worried -- it absolutely will be used that way. If you don't want to be discredited, then don't, as Kibbe did, tell a ridiculous (and easily disprovable) lie.

Malkin herself did not lie; she merely repeated a lie. It does not particularly call into question her character. It does, however, call into question her judgment. The reason is that if there had in fact been 2 million protesters in Washington yesterday, there would have been no need to lie about it -- the magnitude of the protests would have been self-evident. I was in Washington for the inauguration, an event at which there really were almost 2 million people present -- and let me tell you, it was a Holy Mess. Hotels, charging double or treble their usual rates, were booked weeks in advance. Major stations on the Metro system were shut down for hours at a time. The National Guard was brought in. At least 3,000 people got stuck in a tunnel. Essentially the entirely of the National Mall, from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, was dotted with onlookers. Heaps of trash were left behind. The entire city was basically a warzone for a period of about 20 hours, from midnight through mid-evening.

But there are no accounts of any of those sorts of things happening yesterday. 70 thousand people, rather, is about the number that will attend the Washington Redskins' home opener next week. That's a lot of people. Washington -- actually Landover, Maryland, where FedEx Field is located -- will be inconvenienced. But it won't be shut down. Business will go on more or less as usual.

Proving yet again that Reality has a liberal bias.


jj said...

Haha, like I said at my place, we already know what 2 million at the mall looks like (link to picture of inauguration day), and the teabaggers didn't come close.

Respectable showing, though, but I should hope so considering Fox News and Freedomworks and Glenn Beck have all been pushing it for months.

Bina said...

The pro-lie crowd was there. They had signs reading "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy".

Yeah, that's REALLY life-affirming...

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