Counting requires logic, and given the political right’s distaste for all things rational it’s no real surprise they may have some trouble counting from time to time.  Still, the difference between 1 and 20 should be obvious, as should the difference between 100,000 and 2,000,000.  From politifact.com’s truth-o-meter:

In the competitive world of Washington protests, crowd size is often a matter of dispute. Organizers usually boast of huge crowds, while police and the news media offer much smaller estimates.

So supporters of Saturday’s “tea party” protests against President Barack Obama were quick to highlight their big turnout. To bolster countless claims on blogs and Facebook, many posted a photograph that showed a gargantuan crowd sprawling from Capitol Hill down the National Mall to the Washington Monument.

But it turns out the photo is more than 10 years old, apparently taken during a 1997 Promise Keepers rally.

I’ve witnessed first hand the difference between ‘official’ estimates of crowd size and on the ground reality, to say nothing of the wide swinging estimates that crowd participants can and do claim.  But while the (leftist) marches and rallies I’ve seen and been in usually vary by the thousands- a crowd of 5,000 people called 2-3,000 or a 500+ being ‘officially’ or in the news media called “a few hundred”, or even something close to 500,000 people being called “tens of thousands”, the right- who admittedly are pretty new to this grassroots, populist thing- take it to another level.  All last week the right-blogosphere and news commentators were proclaiming their righteousness vindicated by the “2 million” people they brought to DC.  Of course, the only problem with that number is that it is way the fuck off.  2 million?  Not a likely number for one city for almost any rally, right or left.  I was at the Million Woman March (or whatever it was called) in DC a few years ago; a DC march that organizers, city officials and the press all pegged to be around a million people (crowd estimates are, after all, extremely tricky things).  You knew that was a shitload of people because they (we) were literally everywhere- the entire city was over-run by participants and there wasn’t a store, train, bus, or sidewalk to be on or in where one wasn’t in the midst of other participants.

More from politifact.com:

Pete Piringer, public affairs officer for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Department, said the local government no longer provides official crowd estimates because they can become politicized. But the day of the rally, Piringer unofficially told one reporter that he thought between 60,000 and 75,000 people had shown up.

Even if we were to use the left’s standard for what to expect of crowd estimates from city officials (75,000 would often mean something more like 100,000 even up to 150,000) we get no where close to the political rally organizer’s wet dream number of 1 million; still way shy of the generally absurd 2 million mark.  But here’s the pic the right circulated to show their huge turn out last Saturday:

And this is where politifact.com breaks it down, um, rationally:

We asked Piringer whether there were enough protesters to fill the National Mall, as depicted in the photograph.

“It was an impressive crowd,” he said. But after marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, the crowd “only filled the Capitol grounds, maybe up to Third Street,” he said.

Yet the photograph so widely posted showed the crowd sprawling all the way to the Washington Monument, which is bordered by 15th and and 17th Streets.

There’s another problem with the photograph: It doesn’t include the National Museum of the American Indian, a building located at the corner of Fourth Street and Independence Avenue that opened on Sept. 14, 2004. (Looking at the photograph, the building should be in the upper right hand corner of the National Mall, next to the Air and Space Museum.) That means the picture was taken before the museum opened exactly five years ago. So clearly the photo doesn’t show the “tea party” crowd from the Sept. 12 protest.

Also worth noting are the cranes in front of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. According to Randall Kremer, the museum’s director of public affairs, “The last time cranes were in front was in the 1990s when the IMAX theater was being built.”

There go those stupid, god-dam facts getting in the right’s way again.  Sorry there folks.

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