Last Saturday, FreedomWorks, a corporate-funded right-wing advocacy group headed by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), hosted an anti-Obama rally in Washington DC. The event was attended and paid for by various conservative organizations, from Parental Rights associations, to “birthers,” to the Rural Landowners, a militant faction that has referenced Waco and Ruby Ridge to call for violence against the government.
Standing proudly on-stage during the rally, FreedomWorks leader Matt Kibbe proclaimed that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance. However, ABC News quickly called Kibbe out for his lies:
At no time did ABC News, or its affiliates, report a number anywhere near as large. ABCNews.com reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as “tens of thousands.”
Kibbe also lied and said that the crowd stretched back to the Washington Monument, even though the crowd barely got past 3rd Street (the Washington Monument is at 15th Street). Kibbe’s lies were echoed by much of the right-wing community. Michelle Malkin dutifully enlarged the number of attendees even more, claiming 2,000,000 people were there. As Nate Silver has noted, “That’s not a twofold or threefold exaggeration — it’s roughly a thirtyfold exaggeration.” Conservatives on twitter distributed a fake picture of the rally showing the entire mall filled with people:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who now competes with Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) as the most popular South Carolina politician of the tea party crowd, took to the stage to endorse Kibbe’s celebratory attitude. Even though polls have been showing public opinion swinging towards increased public approval for the President’s health reforms, DeMint proclaimed victory in defeating health reform. As Politico reported, DeMint announced to the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Waterloo!” ThinkProgress recorded DeMint’s statements at the rally. Watch it: