January 19, 2003

POWER LINE POINTS OUT that an anti-Hugo Chavez rally in Miami drew 50,000 people — about as many as the largest credible estimates for the D.C. antiwar rally yesterday. In the words of Power Line:

[T]he anti-Chavez, pro-freedom rally by Cuban-Americans and others in Miami was likely larger than any of yesterday’s antiwar rallies. How much coverage did it get in your local newspaper?

That says something about the limited appeal of the antiwar movement. And about what the mainstream press considers news, and what it doesn’t.

UPDATE: ToneCluster points out that 100,000 people protested against Chavez in Caracas yesterday.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus notes that more people will be showing up for the NFC and AFC championship games than showed up at any of the protests. (Heck, based on official figures more people showed up to see the lame Tennessee Vols lose to Florida last fall than showed up at all the American antiwar protests combined.)

He also notes that the ESPN coverage — unlike coverage of the antiwar protesters — includes detailed analysis of the records and backgrounds of the participants, and concludes: “I wonder why ‘pure news’ reporters look down on sports reporters?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Austin emails:

More people didn’t just show up to see the Vols lose to Florida, they paid for the privilege! I would have said that unlike the pro-Saddam demonstrators, they did not regard their opponent’s supporters as feckless, hygenically challenged, evil morons, but we are talking about Gator fans after all.

Meanwhile, Oliver Willis emails this link to a page with video that purports to show 350,000 people at the San Francisco rally. I couldn’t get the video to play, but I regard that claim as absurdly inflated.

And reader Ronnie Schreiber sends this observation:

A couple of the reports on the various anti-war protests said that a number of the protesters’ signs mentioned SUVs. Today is the last day of the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Last year there were 759,907 people who paid to get into the nine day show and crowds so far have exceeded last year’s attendance. The last Saturday of the show is typically the day with the highest attendance which means that yesterday there may have been more people attending the Detroit auto show to look at the latest SUVs than there were anti-war protesters in both SF and DC.

Sure enough, thanks to the wonder of Google News, I found this story, reporting that:

Event organizers predicted the final turnout by Monday evening could approach the 2000 record of 802,300. Saturday’s attendance alone was projected to top 120,000 people.

So, using official numbers, it seems that there were certainly more people looking at SUVs in Detroit yesterday than were protesting the war across America. You may, of course, doubt the truth of the official numbers — and crowd estimation, especially with large crowds where people don’t have to pass through turnstiles to get there is hard — but it seems rather unlikely to me that the Washington, D.C. and San Francisco municipal governments are such hotbeds of warhawkery that they would be deliberately under-reporting the numbers by a factor of ten, as the organizers are claiming. (LATER: Schreiber emails to point out that the Auto Show charges admission, and so probably has a very reliable count compared to what you get with open-air events. True enough.) (STILL LATER: A reader emails that yesterday’s attendance was 142,865. I can’t find that anywhere on the Web, but if so, well, the outcome’s pretty clear.)

Meanwhile, Charles Johnson reports that press accounts are whitewashing the presence of radical Islamists at the protests.

UPDATE: And James Hudnall has a pop quiz for protesters. Read it.

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