WaPo: Editors? Bah humbug.

Here’s a perfect example of the casual use of equivalency in today’s media. Chris Cilizza, a columnist at the Washington Post and a regular on MSNBC, writes about Saturday’s Beckapalooza. He says no one really knows how many attended, saying:

You do know it's all about me, don't you?

“Estimates on the size of the rally have varied widely. According to one commissioned by CBS News, 87,000 people attended the event. 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’

From CBS in their own report: “The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which stretched from in front of the Lincoln Memorial along the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. . . .  AirPhotosLive.com gave its estimate a margin of error of 9,000, meaning between 78,000 and 96,000 people attended the rally. The photos used to make the estimate were taken at noon Saturday, which is when the company estimated was the rally’s high point.

So what we learned from Chris Cilizza this morning (and passed as perfectly good reporting by the Post’s ‘editors’) is this: crowd size guesses pulled from the a**es of the sponsors carry the same weight as  those arrived at by outside professionals hired by a news organization. Okay.

So, let’s just review. Estimates by Beck et al, as seen by Cilizza, worthy of reporting (at least they weren’t colluding – obviously), were:

Palin – 100,000

Beck – 300,000 – 650,000 (lottsa wiggle room in this one – either one thing or double that one thing. Somewhere in there.)

Bachman –  1 million by jeebus

6 responses to “WaPo: Editors? Bah humbug.

  1. Beck his spending his entire show whining about the press coverage, he’s not pleased, tisk-tisk.


  2. Ms. Holland,

    I had to watch my favorite idiot on MSNBC, only they had a guest host. But true to form he was there at the end. They did a skit where Olbermann was the voice in Beck’s head, telling him what to say during the DC rally . Even if I hated Beck, it was the dummest thing MSNBC has done in a long time. But boy were they cracking themselves up on the set. I have to believe that with their ratings and Obama’s numbers so bad, they really are cracking up.


    • Wouldn’t know. Hardly ever watch that network anymore except for my very strange fascination with Chris Matthews for which I have no explanation 🙂


  3. If you don’t show both sides, you are being unfair. As a result:
    Evolution ≈ Creationism
    87,000 ≈ 1,000,000
    Obama believes silly crap from the Chrisitian magic book ≈ Obama believes silly crap from the Muslim magic book
    (Age of earth = 4.5 billion years) ≈ (Age of earth = 10,000 years)
    Supply side economics is a Ponzi scheme ≈ SSE is effective

    Modern journalism doctrine: “Both sides are always equally valid.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s