So Exactly How Many People Attended the DC Tea Party?

A few people have sent me pictures of last Saturday’s rally in Washington, DC, and I’ve researched the photos and videos on the World Wide Web. I was in DC for the Promise Keepers rally in 1997, which is the only other time I saw a crowd this broad and thick. At that time also, traditional media under-reported the crowd, which was from the capitol down to the river. When I returned to the hotel that night, the news was reporting on about a dozen NOW protesters. I remembered television pictures of the “Million Man March,” with people playing catch and barbecuing on the grass. There was none of that at the Promise Keepers rally, because the crowd was from top to bottom, practically elbow to elbow, with any walking room only down the side streets. The crowd we see at this rally may have had a bit more room to raise the arms, but it extended not only across the mall, but onto adjacent lawns and up Pennsylvania Avenue.

Obviously, there is no way that a human can count the heads of such a crowd. But as it had at the Promise Keepers rally, it strikes me that the right question to ask is not, “How many can you count?,” but “How many people can fit in this space?” Every visible part of the city was occupied. Reports of what these various areas can hold add up to 11/2 million +. I feel safe answering this question this way: “How large was this crowd?” “I can’t say precisely. But, I can say that it was larger than any gathering in DC in my lifetime, including some that popular media hyped to the max.

Traditional sources (For a long time, I have used neither of the terms, “mainstream” or “elite,” out of respect for the actual definitions of words) reported the crowd as “tens of thousands,” or "60-70 thousand”…PLEASE! “Mainstream” or “elite” would be a polite bad description of that sort of horse manure. Most of us have seen aerial views of crowds at football stadiums. Football stadium crowds do not lock up the city and justify the closing of roads. And, 60-70 thousand people would fit in most NFL stadiums, though not DC’s RFK (capacity ca. 45,000) and such a stadium crowd would sit in this one almost like a large rubber duck in a small bathtub.

Print journals are fading and probably next in line for the federal fake money bailout bizarre. I quit watching the old broadcast networks over a decade ago. I might flip to CNN on commercials. MSNBC is like an exotic zoo. All of their reports are the appropriate ailing bleating of sick animals. People who pay attention to them could also have outhouses in their backyards.


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