Monday, January 29, 2007

How big was that anti-war march in Washington?

How many people were at the anti-war demonstration in Washington D.C. Saturday? All the accounts I saw in the media, apparently following CNN’s lead, refer to tens of thousands. I saw one media report that said 20,000. But Bob Herbert, who was there, said in his column today in the New York Times (requires a subscription) that there were more than 100,000. The organizers of the march said the turnout was well over 100,000.

If more than 100,000 people traveled to Washington on Saturday to urge Congress to end the war in Iraq why would the corporate media downplay the story and talk only about “tens of thousands”? Are the people working for the corporate media journalists or advocates? Are they reporting the news or trying to shape the public perception? Are they telling us what we need to know to make informed decisions or telling us only what they want us to know in order to determine what decisions we make?

2 comments:

Robbie C. said...

I personally feel that attendance numbers at these things always end up high. Aside from literally counting the people there is no way to ever know. Certainly you can get aerial photos and estimate based on the average amount of space a person consumes. I also rarely take organizers quotes on numbers. They are automatically going to puff numbers to make themselves look good.

The funny part about numbers I noticed was when I was looking at CNN's website about the event over the weekend, they mentioned the counter protest. I think they quoted the number at like 40. Does that even count?

Dave Barrett said...

Well, actually the organizers claimed 500,000, which was probably puffed up a little. But everyone else, except the CNN reporter thought the crowd was about 100,000. I cannot give the benefit of the doubt to someone who reports 20,000 when everyone else says 100,000 and the organizers say 500,000. I think someone's poltical agenda is effecting their reporting.

About the counter-demonstration of 40 people -- I imagine the reporters who mentioned them must have thought that made their report even-handed or something.