There was no promised miracle, unless it’s that 80,000-plus people showed up to the New Messiah of the Right’s Gospel Meet-and-Bleat. (Incidentally, a possible third of the crowd may have just been ordinary tourists who stuck around to see what was going on rather than Teabagger acolytes of St. Beck.)
Carrie Dann at MSNBC’s First Read fretted:
“Estimates of just how many people attended Saturdays event have varied from modest calculations of under 90,000 to brassy declarations of over a million.
“CBS News, which hired company AirPhotosLive.com to conduct an estimate, put the tally at around 87,000. One park service official told NBC News that the number was somewhere around 300,000. (The National Park Service no longer issues official crowd estimates after it was pilloried for allegedly miscalculating attendance at the 1995 Million Man March.)
“Beck himself told the crowd that hed seen estimates that ‘between 300,000 and 500,000’ people showed up. Sarah Palin told POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin that she was disappointed by an Associated Press description of the ‘tens of thousands’ of ralliers, adding that she believed turnout to have been over 100,000.
“And, at a rally piggybacking off of the Restoring Honor event, Minnesota congresswoman and Tea Party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann challenged anyone who calculated Becks audience at anything less than seven digits. ‘We’re not going let anyone get away with saying there were less than a million here today because we were witnesses,’ Bachmann said.”
— Carrie Dann, “A Big Beck Crowd But How Big?” MSNBC First Read, Aug. 30, 2010.
We already know dippy Michele’s estimate of anything, including the size of the Teabagger movement, is as solid as Dick Cheney’s interpretation of the Constitution, so discard that ‘million’ tripe. In this case, Wasilla’s Mama Grizzly may be closest; about 100,000, with perhaps a quarter to third apolitical, unreligious sightseers or celebrity gawkers. As Sam Seder confirmed, it was an old, white, middle-class gathering, just like Fox News’ dwindling audience.