So yesterday Jon Stewart put on a combination concert and stand-up show on the DC mall. Many hip young people showed up to have a laugh at the expense of the over-35 crowd. The medja is, of course, insisting that the turnout for this was HUUUUGE! While, of course, downplaying the turnout of the over-30 crowd for Glenn Beck’s recent tentless tent-revival.
The AtlanticWire reports:
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s rally reportedly drew 215,000 people, far more than the 87,000 estimated by the same company to have attended Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” event earlier this year. But does it matter? Liberals are celebrating the numerical triumph, touting it as a sign that more Americans are put off by Tea Party-style politics than drawn to it.
So, 215,000 to 87,000, eh? Almost 2.5 times as many! Wow! And the source cited? CBS News.
Charlie Martin of PJMedia has done his own calculations, with accompanying graphics, and concludes differently:
Before this went to press, CBS News made their own estimate: 215,000 versus their estimate of 87,000 for the Beck rally.
To which I say “Oh, nonsense.”
Their contractor, AirPhotosLive.com, it turns out, did at least publish an explanation of their methodology,.
AirPhotosLive.com is correct that trying to count oblique photos is unsatisfactory, which is why we don’t: we use the oblique photos to get geography bounds on the crowd against landmarks, and then make a range of estimates using the Park Service’s own standards for crowd density.
The Beck rally covered roughly 2.4 million square feet and by AirPhotosLive’s own photographs large parts of that area were packed as densely as any overhead picture of Stewart/Colbert. The Stewart/Colbert rally had, at most, about 6/10th the space — 1.62 million square feet vs. 2.4 million. For it to have had that many people, they would have had to be packed about 6.7 times more densely than the densest parts of the Beck crowd.
Not a chance. Not even if they were packed in olive oil.
What are you supposed to believe, the media or your lyin’ eyes?