Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tea Party Wildly Exaggerates Crowd Size While Claiming They Don't Care About Crowd Sizes

As I wrote earlier in the week (BTW, thanks to the Post-Dispatch for linking to the post), the local tea party movement involvement has been shrinking so rapidly lately that even their own leaders have been forced to publicly acknowledge the decline in attendance and enthusiasm. In order to put a cheerful gloss on things, they've made half-hearted attempts to tie their decline to "the dip" concept proposed by Seth Godwin, which suggests that there's a period of decline that precedes every major reward. Of course, they don't provide any evidence that they're in a "dip" rather than a "dead end;" rather, they simply latched on to an easy graph that they could use to try to keep their dwindling membership motivated in the face of growing evidence that mainstream America does not, in fact, share their radical views. But anyway, it's not surprising that they're trying to get their followers to be at peace with the fact that the crowd sizes are shrinking.

But given that they're doing this, isn't it a bit strange that they're still going way out of their way to massively exaggerate the crowd sizes at their events? Dana Loesch, Jim Hoft, and Adam Sharp, all claimed that yesterday's tea party rally in Warren County had 1,000 attendees. However, the official Warren County Patriots page only claimed "over 600":

But a look at the photos and video shows a much smaller crowd than even that. The most generous crowd photo I could find was the following (from Keyboard Militia):

Or, in this clip that pans the crowd during the speech from Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft, you can see that there are tons of empty seats:

From that clip, it looks like there were probably two or three hundred people, tops (and that's being extremely generous).

But those who did come were in for a special treat, as they got to witness Dana Loesch wearing...a Dana Loesch t-shirt!

(photo from Gateway Pundit)

One other mistake they're making: Hoft and Loesch seem to think that liberals noticing their decline in numbers will make them automatically complacent. However, everyone I know understands that the 2010 elections are going to be extremely difficult for Democrats, however strong the tea party movement actually is. Pointing out that the tea party numbers are shrinking is not an excuse for blowing off the elections: it's just something worth noting in light of the media narrative of "ooooh, shiny and exciting tea party movement."

Anyway, it all just seems a little strange. If they are really at peace with their decline in numbers as a natural ebb and flow of movement building, then maybe they should stop trying so hard to shamelessly and desperately inflate their numbers.


  1. They've always exaggerated crowd sizes from the 1st one under the Arch. Hennessy said "500" on KMOV that day, but it grew to 1000 then 1500. And we all know about the doubling of Kiener Plaza's maximum allowable crowds. I will give the locals a little credit though. They don't exaggerate like the Bachmann's in D.C. when their 9-12 estimate of 2 million exceeded the police approximation of 50-70K.

    I don't know if I'd refer to their followers
    as a dwindling "membership". We all know about their failed efforts to raise monies among their "members" regarding the Prop A issue. I think "partisans" or "zealots" is a more deserving term.

    I didn't hear a ton of applause from the crowd even with someone urging them from the stage (1:49 in Gateway Pundit's video). And was that Dana playing the part of the "woo girl" while taping his speech?

  2. I'm sure she's wearing the shirt ironically cuz that's PUNK RAWK!

  3. Annette, that is a truly awesome comment.

  4. Russ, all good points you made. Although I would add that our local tea party was happy to hype up the Bachmann numbers at the time.

  5. I'd forgotten about that Adam. Thanks.

    And Annette, that comment was purrfect.

  6. The only thing I can think of that's more dumb than wearing a concert t-shirt to see the same band is wearing a t-shirt which promotes yourself. Not surprising that Dana is a fashion FAIL.

  7. I don't understand where the 1,000 number comes from. I think saying 100 people is much closer to accurate.

  8. Anon, 1,000 was a claim made on the blogs of Gateway Pundit, Dana Loesch, and Adam Sharp of the St. Louis tea party.