ays after Glenn Beck's 8/28 rally, there is still active sparring in the blogosphere over how many people were in attendance. That's no surprise, says Peter Grier at the Christian Science Monitor. "Rally organizers usually say crowds were huge, bigger than expected. Critics will say the numbers were less than anticipated. That’s been the case for years." This weekend was no different, though the range of estimates is wider than normal. (Watch Beck's take on the crowd size.) Here's how they lined up:
Even though CBS News hired an independent expert to come up with a crowd-size estimate, conservatives scoffed at the results. This "laughable" figure just underscores the "blatant bias" of CBS News, says Anthony G. Martin at the Examiner. But 87,000 is "nothing for conservatives to be ashamed of," says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. "When 87,000 folks show up for an NFL game in Washington, it's considered a pretty good turnout."
In an interview with Politico, Sarah Palin estimated that there were more than 100,000 people at the rally. That doesn't seem too far off the mark, says Chris Good at The Atlantic. "The crowd looked to me to be at least one and a half times the size of a packed NFL stadium, which would put it over 100,000."
Up to 650,000
Interviewed on Fox News, Glenn Beck said attendance for his rally was, "on the low end, 300,000 and it may be as high as 650,000." NBC News' Domenico Montanaro went for the lower figure of the two, while Fox News went the furthest of the mainstream news outlets by citing a figure of 500,000. Many news outlets went for a vague "hundreds of thousands" estimate — which had some backing from ridership figures on Washington D.C.'s Metrorail. The capital's subway system logged 510,000 trips on August 28, almost 200,000 more than the previous Saturday.
More than 1 million
Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), a noted Tea Party supporter, provided the highest of the weekend's estimates. "We're not going to let anyone get away with saying there were less than a million here today," she said. "We were witnesses." Despite the many varying estimates, says Michael Calderone at Yahoo News, "it's doubtful there will be a consensus any time soon."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Attack of the invasive species
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Which states get screwed worst by the Electoral College?
- 10 things you need to know today: April 19, 2014
- How Captain America won over China
- What The Americans gets wrong about Russian spies
Subscribe to the Week