Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You Lie! Anatomy of the "2 Million" Moron March Lie

From Media Matters:

Blame it on a tweet.

It turns out that's what kicked off the right-wing blogosphere's comically inept misinformation campaign last weekend to try to swell the size of Saturday's anti-Obama protest in the nation's capital, to jack the crowd size up to the wildly inflated -- and erroneous -- number of 2 million people.

Nice try.

According to estimates provided by the Washington, D.C., fire department, Malkin and friends were only off by 1,930,000 people. In other words, Malkin, citing fictitious press accounts, led the charge to falsely inflate the size of the crowd by 30 times. Malkin and company, desperate to dress up the tea party event as a mass movement, saw a relatively modest crowd of 70,000 GOP protesters and imagined it was 2 million strong. (She's a dreamer, I suppose.)

Worse, Malkin spent most of Saturday in denial, refusing to update her transparently false report, which meant the rest of the right-wing blogosphere also played dumb on a massive scale and kept excitedly repeating the manufactured claim. The scary part is that within the fact-free conservative blogosphere, lots of people still believe the 2 million nonsense, or are at least repeating it. They believe it despite the fact that nobody can point to any evidence to support it.......

The conservative comedy of errors began on Saturday when Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, took to the rally stage and unfurled a massive lie. He told the crowd ABC News had reported that between 1 million to 1.5 million people had gathered to protest Obama's policies. (Later, a FreedomWorks flack conceded she had no idea know why Kibbe manufactured the claim about ABC News.)

Immediately, conservative activist Tabitha Hale (aka "pinkelephantpun") tweeted Kibbe's lie but added an additional 500,000 people to the tally: "ABC reporting 2 million people."

Seven minutes later, Malkin re-tweeted Hale's claim. Then, one minute after that, Malkin turned that tweet into part of her ongoing protest coverage. Intrepid "reporter" Malkin took an unsupported tweet and reported it as news:

12:34pm Eastern: Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million -- tweets Tabitha Hale from D.C.

Teeny, tiny fringe, huh?

Note that in her blog post there were no links for Malkin's utterly fantastic claim, no place on the Web where readers could go and confirm that D.C. police had pegged the crowd at 1.2 million or that ABC had made the staggering claim of 2 million. The lack of live links should have been a massive red flag for readers and fellow bloggers, especially when it was associated with such a controversial and news-breaking claim.

But, of course, Malkin had no links or any real facts to go on. All she had was a couple of tweets from Hale, who, in retrospect, appeared to have spent much of Saturday just making shit up.

Read the rest here.

No comments:

Post a Comment