Monday, August 30, 2010

Smithson Falsifies Site Traffic Information And Discredits "Restoring Honor" Estimates

Updated August 31st, 2010.

When I first wrote this piece, John Smithson estimated 600,000 people were in attendance at the Glenn Beck rally.  Now he estimates 1,040,000!  As a side note, it looks like his visitor counter finally topped 256...

I was on conservative blogger John Smithson's website and noticed a big fat lie - in an article discussing the Glenn Beck ego rally, Smithson talked about how the rally was a huge success and how he had seen tremendous site traffic in the 24 hours of reporting on Beck's little rally.  Smithson claimed that he had 256 hits on his website in 24 hours - ten times his usual traffic of around 25.  This was apparently proof of the right-wing's "grassroots" movement's power.

There was one small problem with Smithson's claim - the site counter right beside the article puts the count at 228 (Smithson had just installed the counter a couple days ago).

What is the significance of John Smithson's lie?

Smithson's previous article regarding the Beck rally were about those in attendance, where Smithson refused to accept estimates of close to 100,000 in attendance and decided to go with a much higher number - 600,000.

Smithson believes the estimates of 87,000 to be a "lie" and has called numerous news stations, including Fox News, untrustworthy for not saying what he wants to believe.

Here is a great article by Bridgitte P. LaVictoire from Lez Get Real regarding the attendance numbers:
Yesterday, busses brought in as many people as the Koch Brothers could manage to scrape up, but in the end, the crowd that turned out at the National Mall was, at best, 100,000, and not all of them were there to see Beck. In fact, an estimate by a professional using software developed by the Defense Intelligence Agency put the estimate at around 85,000, which is close to what CBS is estimating, which is 87,000. Given the number of tourists, counter-protesters, and non-attendees, the crowd that came to see Glenn Beck do his best impression of Amy Semple McPherson, the 1920’s radio personality and evangelist who was eventually taken down by scandal.

Glenn Beck predicted that there would be some 100,000 people at the rally, but now has FOX News claiming that there ware upwards of 500,000. Given the tendency of the network to overestimate the rally sizes by figures in excess of several degrees, including claiming one protest had as many as two million attendees when it did not even manage to get a quarter of that, it is hard to credit them with an accurate count.

According to the company AirPhotosLive, the total number of people there was somewhere between 78,000 and 96,000. Given how heavily this rally was promoted, that level of attendance would be considered rather pathetic. In fact, without heavy promotion, the National Equality March pulled in some 30,000 marchers, and all of the promotion regarding that was done via the internet.
Now why would we believe Smithson's amateur guess of those in attendance when he can't even get his site traffic correct?

Smithson, and conservatives in general, are just unwilling to accept reality because in doing so would ruin their narrative that the tea party is a force to be reckoned with - the tea party is really a hodge podge of upset right-wing conservatives that are extremely vocal, bullying the majority into submission thus perpetuating the Spiral of Silence.

It benefits conservatives to push this idea that the tea party movement is bigger then it really is because it helps advance their agenda - politicians are more willing to pander to those who can have a considerable impact on their electoral results.  The Spiral is also integral because if the minority tea parties are seen to be a bigger force then they really are, the true majority will censor itself to become more accommodating to the minority, and in return the minority become more vocal.

Smithson illustrates perfectly why right-wing pundits cannot be trusted in regards to matters they are invested in (both directly and indirectly)...


  1. that's just funny. and so appropriate. there are people (on both sides, to be fair...and...balanced...) who will believe whatever they want to believe, facts be damned.

  2. Completely true. I am not a fan of Glenn Beck, and I would love to say that his rally had only 10,000 in attendance, but to say that his rally had that many people would be wrong. I believe the estimates that place the number around 100,000, and most rational sources believe so too.

    I really hope that the responsible people in the media prevent the lie of half a million people from spreading, like last time there was a conservative rally and Fox News lifted shots of Obama's inauguration and claimed their rally had 2 million people!

    It will be interesting to see how many show up to Freedom Works' 9/12 rally, especially if more people attend that one over the Beck/Palin festival - it may show the waning popularity of Beck...


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