Friday, September 11, 2009

Teabaggers inflate, invent numbers: will local media notice?

Earlier, it was stated that the teabaggers' "buycott" was one of the dumbest strategies ever.  After thinking a little more about this, I don't think that's quite correct.  While it clearly is true that the buycott is not going to do anything to help Whole Foods Market, the mistake in this way of thinking is the idea that the teabaggers care at all about Whole Foods or their CEO.  It was never about Whole Foods for them. It was about a cheap gimmick to get media attention, and they were successful at that. 
On the other hand, as I have written earlier, the teabaggers ability to turn out people appears to be diminishing rapidly as time goes on.  After surprisingly large initial rallies, their "recess rallies" were a huge failure, as was their attempt to organize a counter rally to OFA's bus tour.  They tried to cover this fact up by hyping up their "buycott" and claiming it was a huge success.  It wasn't, but even if it had been, it was easily matched by the MoveOn vigil the night after, which attracted more people and as much media attention.  And Obama's speech has clearly shifted the momentum even further away from their obstructionist agenda.
However, I want to focus on just how much the teabaggers are willing to completely invent and inflate numbers as they desperately try to pretend that they still have momentum, and how willingly the local media goes along with this nonsense.  The teabaggers claimed that 1,000 people attended the "buycott" and spent $50,000.  However, numerous signs point to the fact that these numbers were completely fabricated:
1.  First of all, the teabaggers themselves only ever claimed to have collected, "600 or so" receipts.  Knowing how they round their numbers, this means that at most they probably collected 501.
2.  They asked for people to mail in receipts before the buycott day.  In other words, many of the receipts they were counting were not actually from purchases that day.
3.  Not only did they ask people to mail in receipts, they asked people to email receipts.  
4.  At the rally, they collected receipts from previous days.  Dana Loesch even kindly posted video of it (go to the 2:30 mark to see Gina Louden accepting receipts from a different day).
5.  And finally, many of the receipts they collected that day weren't even from people who supported or know about the buycott.  As the following video shows, our good friend Adam Sharp was outside collecting receipts from anyone who left, regardless of whether they had ever heard of a "tea party" or "buycott" before.  The whole video is very funny and worth watching:

(side note: it's very funny how Adam Sharp admits on this video that he uses his camera to videotape people without their knowledge, despite being offended when I mentioned that fact at the OFA rally).  

In other words, despite claiming that they had 1000 participants that day, they never collected more than 600 (i.e. 501) receipts, and there were at least five ways in which they were counting receipts that weren't part of the day's protest as receipts from the day's protest.  They then proceeded to take a, like, totally random "sample" of receipts claiming that the average amount spent was $50, multiplied it by their made-up number of 1,000, and claimed that they generated $50,000 of spending for the day.  And despite the fact that the whole point of collecting receipts was that they would actually have a record of what was spent, they have still not released any real numbers two weeks later!

But more important than the long-known Fundamental Law of the Universe that teabaggers are compulsive liars is the fact that the local media is so willing to eat up their garbage numbers without the slightest bit of critical thinking.  How do they let them invent numbers like 1,000 people and $50,000?  Why wouldn't they ask them to actually provide receipts?  They are called reporters, and their job is to find out the truth and not to uncritically pass along whatever b.s. they are spoon-fed by the teabaggers, who by the way have nothing but contempt for the local media.
In the video Loesch posted, after the lady gave Gina Loudon a receipt from a previous trip, Loudon said (2:32), "I hope they don't check!"  Well, Loudon's in luck, and the rest of us are out of it, because the last thing the local media seems willing to do is to call the teabaggers on their inflated numbers and outright lies.

1 comment:

  1. Nice job. Only bloggers bother to do journalism any more, it seems.