I’d say that the CBS estimate (the only estimate as far as I know that actually commissioned professionals to do the estimate rather than just guessing) of 215,000 for the Rally to Restore Sanity and 87,000 for Beck’s Restoring Honor rally is probably reasonably accurate. Keep in mind that the Washington Monument is not located in the center of the National Mall. It’s actually much closer to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial than it is to the end of the Mall where the Stewart/Colbert podium is located (which you can clearly see in the aerial map included with the dueling rally photos). And much of the space where the Beck rally was held is taken up by reflecting pools that span most of the length between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The space in the middle was filled by people, not water, at the Rally to Restore Sanity.
But who cares? What difference does it make? Why is it so important that Beck’s rally be seen as having a bigger crowd than a comedy and music show? Why does everything have to be a peeing contest? Beck’s rally drew more attendees than the liberal One Nation rally (not as many more as is claimed by the right, but more), but the fact is that if you combined both the Restoring Honor and One Nation crowds (wouldn’t that be fun?) it still wouldn’t be as big as Saturday’s rally. And if you combined all three it wouldn’t match the crowd The Beach Boys drew for their 4th of July show in 1980. Perspective, people. Perspective.
This is exactly the sort of thing the underlying theme of the Rally to Restore Sanity was all about — people on both sides (note how Stewart pissed off Keith Olbermann yesterday) being paranoid, hateful, unreasonable and vitriolic rather than trying to think things through in a reasonable and calm manner. Can’t you see that by trying to deny the obvious reality you’re doing the same thing the liberals or progressives or socialists or whatever they’re calling anyone to the left of Genghis Khan these days did when they tried to claim they got a bigger crowd than Beck? Except that the crowd difference between the Beck and One Nation rallies wasn’t quite so obvious and as far as I know they didn’t resort to faked photo comparisons.
And by the way, I know you all think the Rally to Restore Sanity was some big liberal/progressive/socialist/Marxist plot, but there were a lot of Republicans there yesterday. Sure, Stewart and Colbert’s audience skew a bit left of center and the crowd probably reflected that, but these weren’t extremists. In fact, I saw a number of signs calling (in a reasonable manner) for smaller government.
Now, let’s all start proving Jon Stewart right and let the namecalling begin.