I don’t understand the need to lie. If the event was successful as far as those who were attending, why is it necessary to hype the numbers, use a photo from another event and ruin your credibility with such a silly lie.
The protest, in and of itself, should be enough without worrying about numbers. The protest allowed people to vent and feel like part of the system that so often refuses to hear our voices. I don’t agree with what the protesters in this incident are protesting but I certainly support their right to protest. What I don’t support is using a 10 year old photo from another event to make the crowd seem larger than it was.
Bloggers claim photo shows millions at “tea party” protest
In the competitive world of Washington protests, crowd size is often a matter of dispute. Organizers usually boast of huge crowds, while police and the news media offer much smaller estimates.
So supporters of Saturday’s “tea party” protests against President Barack Obama were quick to highlight their big turnout. To bolster countless claims on blogs and Facebook, many posted a photograph that showed a gargantuan crowd sprawling from Capitol Hill down the National Mall to the Washington Monument.
But it turns out the photo is more than 10 years old, apparently taken during a 1997 Promise Keepers rally.
Pete Piringer, public affairs officer for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Department, said the local government no longer provides official crowd estimates because they can become politicized. But the day of the rally, Piringer unofficially told one reporter that he thought between 60,000 and 75,000 people had shown up.
“It was in no way an official estimate,” he said.
We asked Piringer whether there were enough protesters to fill the National Mall, as depicted in the photograph.
“It was an impressive crowd,” he said. But after marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, the crowd “only filled the Capitol grounds, maybe up to Third Street,” he said.
Yet the photograph so widely posted showed the crowd sprawling all the way to the Washington Monument, which is bordered by 15th and and 17th Streets.
There’s another problem with the photograph: It doesn’t include the National Museum of the American Indian, a building located at the corner of Fourth Street and Independence Avenue that opened on Sept. 14, 2004. (Looking at the photograph, the building should be in the upper right hand corner of the National Mall, next to the Air and Space Museum.) That means the picture was taken before the museum opened exactly five years ago. So clearly the photo doesn’t show the “tea party” crowd from the Sept. 12 protest.