September 1, 2010

CBS uses odd source for estimates of Beck Rally attendance

What kind of attendance numbers have you heard about with regards to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor Rally? 1 million? 500,000? 300,000? 100,000? In an insulting race to the bottom CBS is claiming there were 87,000 in attendance.  Proof positive that you shouldn't believe the messenger. Or sometimes any messenger.

87,000 people. I'm sure if they could have somehow claimed 6 people attended they would have done so.  The CBS number is insulting and inaccurate.  Flash back to the 9-12 rally last year.  The numbers were misrepresented back then too.

Interestingly, CBS uses estimates by as it's source for the crowd size estimate.  I went through their website trying to find someplace, any place, where they tout might their expertise in crowd size estimation. Not a thing.  While the company may have given an estimate to CBS, they surely must have qualified it as not being their area of expertise.  

They've got some great reviews and clearly have an experienced team, well suited to disaster scene surveillance, overviews of oil spills, forest fires, crash sites, crowds or disaster sites (day or night), 3D visualizations of proposed buildings, stealth surveillance, as well as time lapse views of ports, dams reservoirs, nuclear power plants and public events.  But that doesn't necessarily give them expertise in estimation of crowd sizes. Nor do they mention it.   

This isn't really about Air Photos live. I'm not saying they may not have some expertise in the area of crowd sizing.  But their credentials would certainly have to come under scrutiny when it comes to putting out stories about attendance at a sizable rally where the numbers could be in dispute. Surely CBS would have asked some questions about the number, and why it was so different from other estimates.  Surely CBS isn't known to put unsubstantiated information into the media as news, are they?

Nonsensible Shoes has emailed a couple of the listed contacts with Air Photos Live to ask about what photographs they might have of the Beck event and how they arrived at their crowd size estimate.  No reply has yet been received.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: No reply to my inquiries on crowd counts from the firm supposedly responsible for the number CBS used. Okay, that's not important or the least bit surprising.  But I thought you might like to know.  Apparently there's an Alinsky tactic we've never heard about - when you're caught with your pants down, HIDE.

2ND UPDATE (Sep. 5):  I did finally receive confirmation that Air Photos Live did take aerial photographs of the rally.  No comment on the number of attendees estimate.  It appears that they did indeed provide CBS with photographs of the rally, but so far that's it.


  1. Keith Olbermann, although he is on MSNBC, touted the CBS number in his belittling of the Glenn Beck numbers. Olbermann responded that people claiming 500,000 we delusional. I Tweeted that NBC News reported 300,000. Olbermann and his followers attacked me and Olbermamm tried to prove me wrong. It turns out that New York Times also quoted NBC's 300,000. So, I guess that me, a private person with an opinion, has been misleading the New York Times.
    It turns out NBC had a reporter at the rally that Tweeted on his Blackberry that a National Park official told him 300,000. That was retweeted by Chuck Todd of NBC.
    Why is this important to people like Olbermann? I said twice as many people paid their own way to the Beck rally than watch Olbermann's show for free. Olbermann by the way is claiming 2 million viewers. However, he averages slightly over 1 million and in the age 25 to 54 demographic that advertisers covet the most he only has about 280,000 viewers.
    The left wing media is very fervent about driving down the numbers of the Glenn Beck rally.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    Anything that Keith Olbermann says should be taken with a mine of salt. He has not only a political agenda that conflicts with a successful rally, he also has a vested interested in knocking the Fox guys. If he's successful it hurts the competition, if he fails miserably, it at least brings his show some attention.

    In fact, I think you are being generous in saying he has 1 million viewers. Try doing a search on "Keith Olbermann viewership". The news is not good for Keith.

    Great comment on the paid versus free! I wouldn't worry about Beck - remember, they're still boycotting him aren't they? It's worked wonders for them.

  3. See B. S.

    Any questions?

  4. AirFiero - just one unrelated question. Based on your name, are you the same AirFiero on ?

    Thanks for the comment, by the way.


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