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How big was the crowd at the Glenn Beck rally?

By Annys Shin

The Glenn Beck rally on the National Mall Saturday drew between 300,000 and 500,000, according to Beck. CBS News hired a consultant with an expertise in aerial photography and came up with a total of 87,000. Other media outlets either wussed out and just said "thousands" or came up with their own estimates, mostly in the 80,000 to 200,000 range.

Counting crowds has become a political no-fly zone, and Beck, like organizers of the Million Man March and other such major Mall events, was quick to carp at the news media for failing to offer estimates as large as his own. The size of the crowd has produced divisive arguments over just about every big gathering on the Mall in recent years. (See a gallery of photos of historic crowds on the Mall here.)

The U.S. Park Police in the past 14 years has provided crowd estimates only once -- for the inauguration of Barack Obama last year. (National Park Service officials said they wanted to know whether it broke the previous record set by the 1965 swearing-in of Lyndon B. Johnson.) In 1996, Congress forced the Park Police to stop estimating crowd sizes after organizers of the Million Man March threatened to sue the agency for saying that 400,000 people had attended the 1995 event, a far smaller turnout than the organizers' own million-plus claim.

''It just got to be so controversial. We get a bunch of people who call us names and say we lie about how many people were there. We decided it serves no benefit for us . . . it is not in our own best interest'' to make a count, then-Park Police spokesman Maj. Robert H. Hines told the Richmond Times Dispatch at the time.

Last year, controversy erupted over the size of a Tea Party rally on the Mall. Supporters of the rally threw out numbers as high as 2 million; an unofficial estimate by local authorities ran closer to 70,000. To back up their estimate, Tea Party-friendly bloggers posted an aerial photo of a packed National Mall. The only trouble was that the picture had been taken years earlier -- before the 2004 construction of the National Museum of the American Indian, which is missing from the photo.

Since the inauguration, the Park Police have gone back into retirement from the crowd counting business, as the outgoing voice mail message of Park Service spokesman David Schlosser on Friday made clear: "We do not provide crowd estimates. Any you may hear may not be attributed to the Park Police or the National Park Service."

Crowd estimating is an inexact science that dates back to the 1960s, according to Steve Doig, a professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. It originated with journalism professor Herbert Jacobs. From his office at the University of California at Berkeley, Jacobs had a clear view of the plaza below where protestors liked to gather during the Vietnam War. Using the plaza as a laboratory of sorts, he came up with a loose methodology that boils down to how many people you can squeeze into a square foot of space. In packed situations, a person might occupy 2.5 square feet of space. In less congested situations, a person might occupy 10 square feet of space. Looking at aerial photographs, measuring the square footage covered by people, and how dense the crowd is, can yield a rough estimate. Depending on density, a crowded National Mall can hold between 1.5 million and 3 million people.

How important is it to you to get an accurate crowd estimate? Does the number attached to a demonstration lend the event credibility even more than the message might? What methods do you think journalists should use to report crowd estimates? Is it inevitable that the organizers' claim will be dramatically larger than estimates by neutral sources? Come ahead with your thoughts on the comment board below, and if you dare, include your prediction/estimate of the crowd at the Beck rally.

(Editor's note: It's much easier to count crowds at a march than at a speech or demonstration because a team of reporters can position themselves at a single funnel point along a march and literally hand-count the crowd. Counting a sprawling mass of people, such as below the Lincoln Memorial, is harder and there are generally two primary ways to do it: 1) Use aerial photos and divide the area into grids. 2) Station people at key points and walk through the crowd doing a hand-count. Neither is fool-proof, but both can give good estimates.--Marc Fisher)

By Annys Shin  | August 30, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Hard choices, Journalism  | Tags:  Beck rally, Glenn Beck, Glenn Beck crowd, Glenn Beck rally, crowd size, how many people  
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This ignores the possibility of people attending for the humor value--i.e. people going not because they support the message but because they want to see the foolishness in person (as I plan to). It would be interesting to try to figure out how many people there actually support Beck and Palin via quick interviews with enough people...

Posted by: whodan2 | August 27, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I suppose the whodan2s of the D.C. turf association need to set up a explanation for black America who will be there in astonishingly significant numbers. Mere attendance is enough for me.

Posted by: DBT1 | August 28, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

About 40,000 will actually attend, but Beck and his supporters will claim 1M.

Posted by: smartpantstoo | August 28, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing most of the crowd for Beck's rally will be big.

20 to 50+ pounds overweigh, estimated...

Posted by: cambridge02140 | August 28, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

smartpantstoo...the crowd we Americans are concerned about are the cynics that have swelled the 'mall' of American thought these past decades. This is the root cause for the the very concept of Beck's rally. We need to restore American values and "can do" attitude regardless of liberal / conservative world views. We have a life, an America Life, worth living. You should get with us or stand on the curb and applaud as we march by in the Parade of who and what we are as One Nation, Under God, that protects everyone's Freedom to march or be a is simply a matter of personal choice, but one that is so clear for us.

The crowd estimate, like the remote miles deep quake that creates the tsunami therefore irrelevant. Its what happens after that is is the metric of its power. The vibe set off today is the flash point lit under tens of millions today. The cynics will correctly state that Beck/Palin co-opted MLK today, and that is an accurate statement, they did. But from our perspective, we will march with MLK now, not have him 'owned' by one group. Martin Luther King's Dream was realized today perhaps for the first time in a true sense of acceptance by white coinservatives...well, good luck and take car and Godspeed...Jim

Posted by: jmrpmc | August 28, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Cambridge 02140 makes a valid point; Beck supporters DO take up a bit more square footage in the photos...

Posted by: flahoos | August 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The Koch brothers , big oil, paid for 1100 buses to transport people from different states to the rally through Freedom Works. If the buses hold 65 people (appox) each that works out to 71,500 people right there. They may of paid for food etc also. Kind of like faking the total.

Posted by: lunetrick | August 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Glen Beck and his minions are haters!My MPD sources tell me that there are maybe 120,000- 125,000 people in attendance down there in DC. All are fools who believe in the great liar Beck.

Posted by: wts1574 | August 28, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Already attempting to minimize crowd size, the outcome and effect WashPo "reporter"? What an original concept, no wait, seen it before. Hey maybe you should try that tired racist meme some more. That's your comfort zone.

Posted by: sheik1 | August 28, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Annys Shin, you and your comrades are right. Nobody but fat stupid white people will attend - at the most 20,000. Thanks for making this point and keep up the good job as an informed reporter for thefair and balanced Washington Post.

Posted by: coconn | August 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Beck Awards “Faith Medal” to Beck Show Guest Who Compared Beck to the Biblical King of Judah.

Beck Compares Self to Moses, Jesus, and others…but humbly:

Posted by: ibidibid | August 28, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I think you are all missing the context of today's rally...but maybe I am wrong. Beck has little to do with what is happening in America...he is a showman, a catalyst no doubt for some conservatives, but still a showman. And now Obama has little to do with 'helping' the 'progressive' movement. He would probably have been far more effective as a outsider, ala Palin.

The "concept" of the tea party and the green party represents the underlying, multi- generational current, of what the majority of American's seem to reach out for: lower governmental controls in their lives combined with a sense of a 'comfortable' environment(and this term can extend to earth/water/air as well as security, education etc).

We don't want it perfect, we just would like to live well enough to not suffer and have our children's lives better. That thinking, if I am right just a little, is the most powerful change agent for humanity, not Beck, Obama or any single individual or movement.

The two 'concepts' of lower controls, a better living environment are not conflict.

But the echo chambers progressives and conservatives alike have built serve to demagogue then amplify their myopic mantras.

The earth rumbled a deep quake in the 1960s and the relentless momentum of the tsunami has been coming ashore in waves; Examples< the civil rights movement, communism fallen, the environment is now a priority, hunger and disease is slowly being stamped out...humanity is progressing.

Our collective thinking, has been successful in increments, just like waves. Have faith, it's us that is making change happen, not rallies.

Posted by: jmrpmc | August 28, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Let's say that there are a million people in the crowd. Let's also assume that for every person in the crowd, there are 25 avid supporters watching from home. That very generous assumption would mean that there are 26 million people who believe that Beck, Palin, et. al. have something positive to contribute to politics in the USA.

Since the Beck/Palin rally supporters claim to be a mixture of people from all walks of life representing all political parties, lets assume that 1/3 of the supporters are Republicans, 1/3 of the supporters are Democrats, and 1/3 of the supporters are Independents. That would mean that 16% of registered Republicans subscribe to the Beck/Palin school of thought, 19% of registered Independents, 12% of registered Democrats.

Now let's say that liberals are correct and that most of the supporters are Republican. That would make 47% of all Republicans Beck/Palin supporters

No matter how you slice and dice the numbers, the Beck/Palin viewpoint is a minority viewpoint. These two self-promoters do not speak for Republicans, they do not speak for Independents, they do not speak for Democrats, and they represent only a small fraction of the voting public.

Posted by: exco | August 28, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

What I'd like to know is how many people attended Rev. Sharpton's event. Why aren't people asking that question? Who paid Rev. Sharpton's crowd to be there? SEIU? The New Black Panther party? Soros? Given Rev. Sharpton's history of antisemitism, I doubt it was AIPAC. What would Rev. King, Jr. think of Al Sharpton? I bet he'd be embarrassed. Not only of Sharpton's bizarre mullet, but also of the words that come from his mouth. Rev. Sharpton seems like a guy I'd like to have a drink with, but his message is stale and used up. We get it. America has a racist past, and racism still exists today. But this isn't 1964, or 1864. We have a brilliant, black president in office. He has proved that merit is what matters. So no more excuses. No more blaming others for your personal failures. It's time to be judged on the only thing that matters: your individual merit. It's not a black or white thing. It's about getting up in the morning, every morning, and performing the best you can given the abilities you were born with, and those you have developed through education and life experiences. If you disagree with the concept of individual merit, then you probably despise Glenn Beck and are part of the small group of Americans who identify with silly Rev. Sharpton.

Posted by: Andy112 | August 28, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The more Shartpon speaks, the greater the odds of a GOP takeover in November.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | August 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The indentured servants (citizens) of the Distric of Columbia welcome Glen "CHICKEN LITTLE" Beck, Sarah "THE QUITTER" Palin and the rest of the Teabagger lemmings

Posted by: jmfromdc | August 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Andy112, what on earth does Glenn Beck have to do with anyone's capacity for "getting up in the morning, every morning, and performing the best you can given the abilities you were born with, and those you have developed through education and life experiences."

I don't know how many people are at the Beck rally or at the Sharpton rally, but if any of them need Glenn Beck or Al Sharpton to motivate them to get up in the morning they need to see a mental health professional as soon as possible to get on an anti-depressant.

Posted by: exco | August 28, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Metro was running a regular Saturday schedule. I was a little surprised after years of seeing extra service for the Marine Corps Marathon, Race for the Cure and so forth. Shouldn't the organizers of the event coordinate with Metro if they expect a large crowd?

Posted by: miseaujeu | August 28, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Both rallies are smoke and mirrors!!! It's the economy and jobs stupid. The day of that matters is NOV 2, 2010!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | August 28, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I've been to several huge events there, the biggest was the Beach Boys on the 4th of July 1984 that the Park Service said was 750K-1M. It was crazy! Wall-to-wall bodies from the Reflecting pool to the Washington Monument and then still dense back to the Capital. I went today and walked from the Lincoln to the end of the reflecting pool and it was big - dense around the pool, less so under the trees to the north and south but still hard to even walk through, but thinning back to the Washington monument. Totally jammed around the Lincoln itself. I'd put it around 250K based on 30 years of watching this stuff.

What was totally disingenous was to hear CNN say the Beck rally had "thousands" and then in the following segment also say the Sharpton rally had "thousands". There simply was no comparison, unless it was in factors of 10's! Oh, I also timed CNN's coverage: Beck got 1:22 and Sharpton got 3:40. That's CNN for you!

Posted by: smithcommercial | August 28, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Andy112, what about the people who ARe "getting up in the morning, every morning, and performing the best you can given the abilities you were born with, and those you have developed through education and life experiences"?

I count myself among them, and I count myself among the many Americans who have been screwed by the "trickle down" theories. I once earned $20 per hour, now I'm earning $7.75. Yes, $7.75. I webt to college, got a degree, didn't go to jail, and because of this d**n recession, I can't find a decent job to save my life. I figure that the last time I had a job that paid $7.75, was in the late 80's.

What has happening in the last 30 years? Corporations and Business have taken over - getting what they want for THEIR profit, and those who actually perform the REAL work get the shaft.

Now, these corporations are sitting on bundles of money and can't figure out why people aren't buying anything.

I'd suggest this - get your head out of your nether regions, and hire one or two people, just for kicks. Hire them to take the pressure off the people you've overworked the last two or three years. Those two or three people might actually spend money, and then the businesses that get that money will spend it on their employees, and so on. Money will begin circulating again.

Go on - you can do it. You don't need that big bonus this year, your three houses and two boats and two vacations per year should suffice. You make more money in one hour than some do in a week.

And for the US public - start buying American Made - at least ask for it.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | August 28, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

DBT1: I'm not precisely sure why you immediately make this a race issue--I was just pointing out that people who attend things are not necessarily people who support the message being broadcast. I know, from talking with people, that there is a population that is going just to observe, not to support, per se. I went, along with several of my friends, only one of whom was a Beck/Palin fan--yes, we can get along.

There were all varieties of people in attendance, certainly. Would I say that "black America" was there in "astonishingly significant numbers"? No, but certainly not unrepresented.

Not sure what you mean by DC turf association.

Posted by: whodan2 | August 28, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

1. The number of jobs saved by the "Imam" in chief is 3 million plus.
2. The HC bill will lower the deficit and provide better care for all.
3. The number of people at Sharpton's rally will be in the millions - mostly White.
4. The number of people at Beck's rally will be 127 - most there just for the humour value.
5. "Barack Obama" was born in Hawaii and was never a Muslim.
6. Barry Soetoro has never told a lie in his entire lfe.

7. All pigs are fed and ready to fly!!!!!!

These are all absolute truths.


"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."


Posted by: armagedon | August 28, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Let's see--last Tea Party Rally had maximum of 70,000 participants and Beck and Palin and Limbaugh all said it had 1.7--2 million there. This time Beck and Palin thought 300,000 would come and estimates say aroun d 50,000. Someone seems to be exaggerating....

Posted by: Sheryn | August 28, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I've been to many events down on the Mall over the years. To me, the Beck rally didn't feel like it could have been more than 100,000 at its peak. His statement that the reflecting pool holds 200,000 doesn't make sense. I don't understand why they can't do an analysis from a satellite image.

Posted by: spamsucks | August 28, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Police are saying their estimate is between 50,000--70,000 people attended.

Posted by: Sheryn | August 28, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Sheryn...There are no police estimates as the DC Police have no jurisdiction in the Mall or any of the adjacent area. The Capital Police have no jurisdiction.

So you just made that up...I called WTOP and asked.
Here is what they told me:
The Park Service is in charge and they no longer offer crowd estimates after organizers of the so called million man march was satellite estimated (by the Park Service) at about 275-300,000...and because they offered that "reasonably" scientific (within 10-15%) estimate...the organizers filed suit against them as they were obviously humiliated that they could not get a million black men to go to DC even for a free trip.
No more crowd estimates after that. Google it or call the _US Park Sevice.
Today there were about 350,000 -400,000 at the Beck rally---according tp the Assoc Press etsimate. No news org had Sharpton's rally in wide angle... AP reports about 5000.

Sheryn...stop lying, you probably do this in other parts of your life...not good.

Posted by: jmrpmc | August 28, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The crowd estimate is not that important. The importance is how the media deals with it. For years, when left leaning organizations held marches, they uncritically issued inflated numbers. Now, they want to examine them with a magnifying glass.

Did the media even estimate Sharpton's crowd? From the coverage by the Post, one would think it at least had 40% of Beck's crowd to be proportionate.

Examine everything, WaPo editors, except yourselves.

Posted by: edbyronadams | August 30, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

you're out of date with your methodology...

Computers scan the aerial photos, and do a count.

87K was the correct number +_ 9K

Posted by: newagent99 | August 30, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Remember Glenn Beck doesn't sing.
He has a radio and TV show. He talks.
The crowd was enormous considering who he is and what he does. Comparing him to the Obama ceremony in January 2009 and the MLK speech crowd really elevates Glenn's status. Thank you fools. Glenn is the best of the three. He earns more money.

Posted by: nychap44 | August 30, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps even more important than the actual attendance is the debate of the size of the crowd. Its a lot like polling, samples extrapolated. Polls are far less accurate, because their samples are a much smaller percentage of the population they are measuring. Add to that the virtual impossibility of validating poll results, except where they coincide with a specific election, and I tend generally to reject their non-election results completely.

It does not really matter what "people think" anyway, as more typically they don't think at all, and possibly often lie to pollsters.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | August 30, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann and Beck both made false estimates about the crowd size. Sort of if you could buy Bachmann and Beck for a dollar a head for each person that was actually there, then sell Bachmann and Beck for the dollar a head of their false estimate-you could make money.

Money, the bottom line, isn't that what it is all about.

The real record set was the "funell cake sells ", the vendor stated when you get a group of old fat white people, you can't make those greasy cakes fast enough.

Bachmann, Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Gingrich,
all involved in the "Dumb-ocracy" of America.

Posted by: COWENS99 | August 30, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Whitestock was a bust, even with Moose and Squirrel headlining the entertainment.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld1 | August 30, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck is not fit to lick MLK's shoes clean.

On the other hand he is by no means the "Anti-King". That distinction goes to KKK members like David Duke or Larry Byrd.

Beck is against Obama’s Politics.
Race has nothing to do with it.
If Biden was the Potus Beck would still march.
If Condi was the Potus: Beck would most likely stay home.
And she is blacker by far.

Given his DNA, Obama is more “Non Black” genetically than Black”
But who cares?
Ideologically Obama has more in common with Karl Marks than he does with MLK.
Genetically Obama has more in common with Hitler than he does with MLK.
Run the tests, Map the genome! I dare you!

MLK would not consider either of them to be Messiah, or even a Saint.
A bad choice of day. That is all.

Posted by: rexreddy | August 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Beck: Division Equals Unity, Rage Equals Love, Freedom Equals Ideological Alignment, Jesus Equals Howard Roark:

Posted by: ibidibid | August 30, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I was in Starbucks yesterday and the buzz wasn't about the number of attendees at the rally. Rather it was a positive chatter about a group that went to DC that seemed to be representing their concerns. The ECONOMY and JOBS and restoring HONOR.

There was talk of new leadership. One said - "You really can succeed at the highest levels, without sacrificing the principles that make life worth living."

The number who actually were at the rally were only the tip representing the whole iceberg that will become visible in November!

Posted by: 2012frank | August 30, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ok so that was Sen. Byrd, not Larry

And Karl Marx was not one of the Marks brothers yah I know.
You people don't do Puns do you?

Posted by: rexreddy | August 30, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

So the Tea-baggers left their white hood and cloak at home and replaced them with US flags? And what happened to the cross burning? Did the park police not issue them a cross burning permit?

Posted by: SpecTP | August 30, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I was at The Capital Hill Club* last September during the Tea Party march. Based upon the number I saw on the street and the metro, there was no way, not even remotely close, that there were 1 million people there for the march.

*The Capital Hill Club is a Republican clubhouse.

Posted by: steve1231 | August 30, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

It was the big stink on the Mall. Thank god we left town during the day.

Posted by: johng1 | August 30, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The Progressive / Sharpton Rally had 87,000 too but apparently 86,000 were invisible people.

Yeah, Libs, nothing to see here. Move along.

Bring on November!!

Posted by: drjcarlucci | August 30, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Here's another number:

9.5% unemployment.

Is that one accurate?

Posted by: drjcarlucci | August 30, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

To one who has spent time there, it looked a good size Mall crowd from the various shot angles.

Exaggerating it either way as an estimate of the political weight of the views expressed is about as sensible as arguing over cable news channel ratings, when most of the American electorate doesn't have time or care to attend political rallies and doesn't tune into cable news except on the occasion of, for example, a natural disaster promising lots and lots of dead bodies.

In then end, the organizers were so intent upon keeping down the vituperative hand-made signs and ugly from-the-gut cat-calls that are the very stuff of "Tea Party" excitement, for both the enthusiastic right and the horrified left, that the rally was pretty much a non-event.

So a lot of white folks had fun in the sun feeling good about being Christian and pro-military -- not a bad thing, all in all -- especially as all were compelled to pay at least pro forma homage to King.

Posted by: washpost29 | August 30, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Counting the crowd is of almost no importance. At its largest possible value, it still represents a small minority of the electorate. Whatever the real size of the crowd, it was a realtively large demonstration. But the strength of the associated political movement will be measured more accurately in November.
By comparison, the 1965 SDS demo on the mall against the war in Vietnam had about 40,000 people. That number may not sound like much. But, to the people there, it was enormous. In 1965, few people even on the left believed there would be any kind of substantial opposition to the Vietnam war. By 1968, that opposition was substantial enough to force Lyndon Johnson to abandon his quest for another term.
The long term trends our society is facing include growing inequality and diminished economic expectations particularly for those who are becoming less equal. It will be surprising if a political movment expressing the pain of some of those most vulnerable to these problems does not continue to grow. Only time will tell if this movement just provides a voice for the emotions of a segment of our society or whether it becomes are more serious participant in American politics.

Posted by: dnjake | August 30, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it amazing how the loony left is now suddenly interested in how crowd estimates are compiled. All of a sudden it's important to note that estimates aren't an exact science and it's important to list estimates by the loony left media outlets, all in the sub-one hundred thousand range of course, because the goal here is to minimize the effect of Glenn Beck and the rally and the will of the American people, those of us who work that is.

The loony left is obviously in a chaotic free fall and the truth of what's happening in this country "the awakening" is just too awful for them to face. Instead they hand wring over crowd estimates and they malign and assault Glenn Beck and other real Americans like him who simply want to rebuild our country to its greatness and to end the social experimentation of the extreme left.

Note to the loony left progressive moon bats - Change is coming my friends, change you can believe in and change that will bring this country back to sanity. You can deny, denigrate, malign, attack and hand-wring all you want, but it's not going to mean a thing in the end. You gambled that the people in this country were too stupid or too engrossed in their own lives to stop you, and you were wrong. We're now aware, awake and driven to action, and we're taking our country back, it’s as simple as that.

Posted by: SayWhat5 | August 30, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I went, it was a very loosely packed crowd with blankets and chairs all the way to the front row, and I could walk freely through the crowd all day without more than a "couple excuse me's". My estimate was 80,000 but 90,000 is probably more accurate. If photos of Obama's inauguration party drew a packed 400,000 (in january!) to the same spot, yeah, Beck had 100,000 or less.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | August 30, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Estimates on the size of the rally have varied widely.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), who also spoke at the event, told a reporter afterward that she thought more than 100,000 people had attended.

Beck said that the crowd was between 300,000 and 650,000, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), speaking at her own event after the rally, said that no fewer than 1 million people had been in attendance.

So who's the liar?

Posted by: mudbone | August 30, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's another number:

9.5% unemployment.

Is that one accurate?

Posted by: drjcarlucci | August 30, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

No...that is a way low estimate. Try around 15%

On the topic however. I used to put on big outdoor concerts and other events. I can eyeball a crowd pretty accurately, having experience measuring by eye and corroborating against actual ticket receipts.

My guess is around 120,000.

The crowd is older, which means folks weigh more (take up more space) and also old folks don't like to touch each other, so they give more personal space.

by the arieals, it looks like the first 5-10 rows of people are fairly dense, but after that, people sort of just spread out.

My 2 cents. A nice decent crowd, and probably over 100,000, but no where near 300k or 500k or a million.

Posted by: Blurred | August 30, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Those who would deny Glen Beck's racist tendencies and believe he is worthy of coopting the Martin Luther King, Jr. message and dream should check some of the tapes of his old show on CNN. His vitriolic hate comments, especially against Mexicans here in the U.S., both legally and unauthorized, include telling Mexicans to "stay out of my backyard", referring to the U.S. But, when accused of being a racist, he merely smirks and asks; Who? Me?
Those who follow him believing he is the new American Messiah should keep that in mind. In other words, tell me who you hang out with and I will know who you are.
We truly need to ask our Supreme Being to protect and save us but from the radio and television political agitators who appeal to the worst instincts of Americans, using fear, hatred and a willingness to accet lies as truth to predict the fall of America only as a means of increasing their personal wealth.

Posted by: yzamaleno9410 | August 30, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

There is a question that concerns me about the fervent Tea Party followers who want to return the U.S. to the values extant at the time of the original Tea Party in Massachusettes. Weren't those the same values that led to the designation of African slaves or, indeed, all blacks residing in what was to become the United States of America as only FOUR FIFTHS of a human being for the purpose of counting population and as a consequence, Congressional representation? The same ones who, relying on Manifest Destiny believed the way to create a country that went from coast to coast included perpetrating genocide against the Native Americans who populated the land between the two oceans? The ones who did not consider women worthy of exercising suffrage or of owning property? Are those the days that Glen Beck and Sarah Palin want us to return to? And, if so, what would happen to dear Sarah's hopes for achieving the presidency of our country? It sounds like those folks are smoking rather than drinking the tea.

Posted by: yzamaleno9410 | August 30, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

1,0000,00000000l,1111eleventy according to notable mind Michelle Bachmann.

Posted by: jakemehoffer | August 30, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Not that big, methinks...

80,000 people showed up in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on the same weekend to protest the handling of the Philippines hostage taking incident where about six Hong Kong residents were killed.

Half a million at Becki and cerebral Sarah's discourse on the "all things God" and the "future of America?"

Not that big a turnout in comparison, is it? Most have been a ball game that day.

Posted by: thetroubleboys | August 30, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

glennbeck is the white republican version of Jeremiah wright. Just close your eyes and listen.

Posted by: victorlove1 | September 1, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

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