November 20, 2003

HERE'S A LIVE WEBCAM VIEW of Trafalgar Square. Doesn't look like 100,000 people to me, to the extent you can tell from one webcam. Nor to Andy at World Wide Rant.

UPDATE: This BBC story still says 100,000 are "expected" -- but if you scroll down you'll see that it's really more like 30-40,000. That's about 10% of the number who showed up to protest the fox-hunting ban. And yeah, I know these numbers don't mean much in themselves. But the downward trend seems pretty clear.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Email from London suggests that protesters aren't exactly overrunning the place. And here's a photo from a London blogger's office window that makes the turnout seem less than overwhelming, too. Reader Rick Bradley emails:

Is it just me, or are this week's British protests strikingly reminiscent of the Martha Burk protests at the Augusta National this spring?

Yes, like the New York Times with Augusta, the BBC has been doing everything it could to pump turnout -- only, it appears, to produce a rather disappointing number of actual protesters. Do you think the media are paper tigers?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Henry Hanks emails that CBS Radio just now was

describing the numbers in London as "tens of thousands." This morning an ITV reporter asked Bush why they hate him "in such numbers." So will we be seeing a concession from the mainstream media that this turnout is far below expectations?

Oh, any minute, I'm sure.

STILL MORE: Here are some questions asked of Bush, presumably by the ITV guy:

Q What do you say to people who today conclude that British people have died and been maimed as a result of you appearing here today, shoulder-to-shoulder with a controversial American President?

And, Mr. President, if I could ask you, with thousands on the street -- with thousands marching on the streets today here in London, a free nation, what is your conclusion as to why apparently so many free citizens fear you and even hate you?

Q Why do they hate you, Mr. President? Why do they hate you in such numbers?

I wonder how many people hate this guy after hearing that performance? The Group Captain, meanwhile, is sniggering.

STILL MORE: Reader Ken Zeitung accuses me of lying, because the BBC story linked above says 60-70,000 now. No, Ken. The BBC just revises its stories on the fly without indicating that it has done so. I don't get as up in arms about that as some people do, but it does cause problems.