The conservative protest at the National Mall on Saturday has leaped to the Web and evolved into one of those Million Man March-style disputes over the size of the crowd. (Million Man organizers threatened to sue the National Park Service for estimating their crowd at a measly 400,000.)
Because this newspaper ran an AP story on Sunday reporting “tens of thousands” of protesters, we’re starting to get letters to the editor accusing us (here in Tacoma!) of being in cahoots with the cabal of liberals conspiring to marginalize Saturday’s crowd. Excerpt from one:
D.C. Metro Police estimated the crowd at 1.2 million, while the Parks and Recreation Department estimated the crowd at 1.5 million. This appears to be an attempt by the mainstream media (of which this newspaper is part) to paint this event as one attended by fringe element or by right-wing extremists …
We don’t print letters with dubious factoids (numeroids?) that we can’t verify. And I couldn’t verify estimates of either 1.2 million or 1.5 million protesters from the police, the parks department or any other agency that might provide a politically neutral tally of the protesters on the mall.
We’d love to print such claims if someone would point us to an authoritative source. I’d guess that “hundreds of thousands” would have been accurate, but the AP – very cautious in such matters – went for “tens of thousands.” Unless we get some better numbers, I guess we’ll just have to be part of the conspiracy. When liberals mount their next big rally on the Mall and hype those numbers, we’ll probably become part of the conservative conspiracy, too.
It’s tough for us MSM types to keep these conspiracies straight when we’re in the middle of so many of them.