Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Mr. Humble N' Pious: My Big Rally Was A Historic Event Like The End Of Slavery

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

The mark of the truly fanatical propagandist is their fervent insistence on hyperinflating the value and importance and size of everything they're connected with -- even when they can be factually proven wrong. Like Glenn Beck yesterday, continuing to hype his incredibly boring rally Saturday in D.C. beyond whatever marginal entertainment value it might have had.

Beck continues to insist -- in the buildup to comparing garbage after his rally with the garbage left after Obama's inauguration -- that 500,000 people showed up on the Mall Saturday. But the folks at CBS News who counted only 87,000 have released their hard data so you can look at it for yourself.

I thought this in particular was interesting:
In a blog post, Doig, writing from Portugal, noted that he estimated the crowd at Mr. Obama's inauguration at roughly 800,000 - a number critics assailed as too low.

"Crowd counting, particularly of political events, always is controversial," he wrote. "The organizers of the event inevitably hype their crowd estimate -- often grossly -- to demonstrate the popularity of their cause, and opponents inevitably underestimate to fit their own agenda. Because of the wild pre-inauguration predictions of how many would attend in person -- up to 5 million! -- my reality-based estimate was ignored by many left-wing commentators and embraced by those on the right."

He added: "The frothing underscores the problem with hyped predictions of crowd size. Organizers and supporters are forced to insist loudly that the actual crowd met or exceeded their expectations, for fear that the realistic estimate will be painted as a disappointment. The time-honored way to dismiss scientific estimates that don't reflect the pre-event hype is to claim political bias on the part of those doing the estimate. I am amused to see that those who embraced my Obama inauguration estimate as soberly realistic are now attacking the Beck rally estimate, produced using exactly the same methods, as deliberately biased."
So the reality is that there were about ten times the number of people at Obama's inauguration that were at Beckapalooza -- which may have something to do with why the garbage count was higher.

At any rate, as if hyperinflating the numbers of his rally wasn't enough, Beck a little later described its significance:
Beck: This is the third Great American Awakening. There have been two. One started by George Whitfield, and it led to the American Revolution. The second one happened in the 1840s and '50s, and it started with people of faith, of all faiths, and it led to the freeing of the slaves. This one is going to restore our Constitution. It's going to restore individual responsibility. It's going to restore faith, hope, and charity.
This much hubris is going to produce quite the spectacular comedown.

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