Tea partiers suffer mall crowd envy, resort to fake photo

When is a rally photo NOT a rally photo?

When is a rally photo NOT a rally photo? Hey ... is that Washington Monument giving Glenn Beck the finger???

You’ve almost got to feel sorry for the teabag-totin’ “patriots.” They expected upwards of 2 million people to answer Glenn Beck’s call to recapture the spirit of the day after 9/11 by hating the 9/11 families and ginning up racially-charged hatred of the president … I mean by protesting gov’ment… but only “thousands,” or in really generous media, “tens of thousands” showed up. (10,002, perhaps?) So what’s a teabagger to do? Fake it, baby. Juuuust fake it. From the Huffpo:

Tea Party protesters trying to tout the size of their march on Washington last weekend have been passing around a photo of a packed National Mall. But the picture is years old. 

Politifact asked Pete Piringer, public affairs officer for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Department, if the rally was big enough to fill that space. Piringer said no – and moreover, the picture can’t be from 2009.

“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 photo showed the crowd sprawling far beyond that to the Washington Monument, which is bordered by 15th and and 17th Streets.

There’s another big problem with the photograph: it doesn’t include the National Museum of the American Indian, a building located at the corner of Fourth St. and Independence Ave. 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.

“I’ve seen bigger crowds at Montreal Expos games, but I still wouldn’t fake a photo just to justify your predictions of millions descending on Washington,” said one gleeful Democratic media strategist. “This is grade-A stupid and just plays into the argument that these were astroturf protests to begin with. They’ve always brought the noise, but the question that was supposed to be answered this weekend was, could they bring the numbers? In that respect this was an unmitigated disaster.”

Politifact also reported on the winger desperation surrounding the event:

“I have no doubt that Washington Democrats are well aware of how many people turned out, even as their media outlets try to downplay the event,” said Power Line, a conservative blog that linked to the photograph from Say Anything , another conservative Web site.

“‘Media’ estimates range from 60,000 to 500,000 to around 2 million (yes, 2,000,000),” wrote John G. Winder for the conservative blog Cypress Times. “Those estimates, the language employed, and the visuals chosen for use in reporting the rally and representing the people gathered, vary greatly based solely on bias.”

In the mainstream media, crowd estimates varied.

The New York Times reported that “thousands” of protesters “filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall,” while Fox News wrote that “tens of thousands” marched on Washington.

And from CNN: “The march leading to the Capitol stretched for blocks on the final day of the Tea Party Express’ cross-country bus tour, which began August 28 in Sacramento, Calif. En route, the group hosted rallies in about 30 cities. An official crowd estimate was not available, but reporters at the scene described the massive crowd as reaching the tens of thousands.”

But alas, they were wrong. D.C. fire estimated the crowd at between 60,000 and 70,000. Nate Silver went with 70,000. I had a few commenters who also insisted that there were over a million people there, to which some clever responders dubbed the event, the Million Moron March. Priceless, and much catchier than Seventy Thousand Moron March, don’t you think? Poor wingers. They really, really wanted to create a new national movement, but a movement of  is more like a really, really big picnic. Well, at least they’ll always have their “Joker” signs. The wingers are now correcting their posts, and the FReepers have been kind enough to warn any stragglers dumb enough to believe that that really is a photo of their giant tea party “not to be fooled by the fake photo!” Well, actually the photo isn’t fake. It’s the teabager 9/12 legend that is. Powerline is still insisting, 10th grader style, that dude, the crowd was really huge… What’s really sad here is how desperately the wingers want — need, really — to believe that the photo was real. This is their moment, and even if participating groups paid tens of thousands of dollars to Freedomworks — a corporate shill outfit — to participate in the ultimate astroturf party, they sincerely want to bestow upon themselves the sheen of authenticity that comes with not being “fringe.” They envy the crowd size of such events as the March on Washington in 1965, (which filled the National Mall with more than a quarter million people,) or even the anti-war movement, which also managed to get more people than attend a Washington Nationals game on a good day, and worst of all President Obama’s inauguration, which actually did completely fill the Mall to overflowing. Sorry winters. (Hey, if you really want to laugh, watch Michelle Malkin careen around her bedroom, deteriorating mentally with every crowd estimating paragraph and news outlet correction, here.)

But they can’t. Because they’re lame. Something the vast majority of normal, sane Americans of every race, creed and color, are not.

Meanwhile, more people are laughing at the ‘baggers here, here and here. And Cracked has the top 15 fake photos ever passed off as real.

UPDATE: Wonkette claims the photo was actually from the 1995 Million Man March … and event, it should be pointed out … put on by Black people! The photo does seem awfully similar to photos of the 1997 march, about which Wonkette points out:

Not only did the Million Man March actually attract a million people, it was led by wingnuts’ second-most-hated negro person, Louis Farrakhan, a real black Muslim.

But Wonkette appears to be wrong, too, since Politifact sleuths the photo as having been snapped at a Promise Keepers rally in 1997.

For real pictures, check out the million moron march in action, as they revive the spirit of 9/12/2001:

Don’t you feel the unity?

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