It’s been less than two weeks since the 9/12 Washington DC Rally, and already that old villain, Conventional Wisdom, has wiggled its tentacles into the event and is doing its revisionist history best to minimize the impact and importance of the event.
Most of the mainstream media is reporting the number of people attending the rally at 60,000 to 75,000. The genesis of this erroneous count is one “guesstimate” from one DC EMS worker, who Twittered the following on the morning of the rally:
Notice the phrase “unofficial crowds” right there in the tweet, as well as that big, all-capped word “UNOFFICIAL” at the end of the tweet?
Notice the time stamp of 9:43 a.m., nearly two hours before the march was scheduled to begin?
And yet, almost every mainstream media outlet, as well as many bloggers, and even Fox News took this as some sort of official count, and ran with it.
Saturday evening after the rally had ended, ABC News’ blog Political Punch, home of the ususally meticulous Jake Tapper, used the figure and attributed it to un-named “Washington, D.C., officials”. Most of the rest of the mainstream media parrotted that number, and so it began to be established.
The final nail in the coffin of an accurate count came when Bill O’Reilly used the number in his show opener Talking Points Memo:
Why is it that the one center/right news outlet — the one network that actually gave serious coverage to this event and didn’t once refer to the participants as “teabaggers” — can’t even get the figure correct?
Conventional wisdom. That big bolus of intellectual inertia which is described as:
“…being made of ideas that are convenient, appealing and deeply assumed by the public, who hangs on to them even as they grow outdated. The unavoidable outcome is these ideas will eventually not match reality at all….”
“Not match reality at all.” Hmmm. Sounds familiar. That “unofficial” conventional wisdom count of 60,000-75,000 does not even come close to the reality of the number in attendance on that day. Most of the MSM is hopeless when asked to retract, amend, or modify statements which are known to be incorrect. But we may be able to affect the outcome on Fox News, however.
Glenn Beck, please call Bill O’Reilly. You and everyone who participated worked too hard on this to allow Mr. O’Reilly — by deliberation or inadvertence — to minimize so casually the impact of this event. Please don’t let the reality of the event be denigrated.
Don’t let conventional wisdom rule the day.