The Los Angeles Times plays dumb about the 2 million protester lie

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The paper devotes an entire article to the question of how many people showed up for the anti-Obama rally on Saturday, and the newspaper (surprise!) politely ignores the details surrounding the now-infamous 2 million protester lie, helped spread by Michelle Malkin. If you're going to write a news story about the weekend crowds, that's the story. But still, the Times plays dumb. It's just the latest example of how the mainstream political press fails to hold the GOP Noise Machine accountable. How right-wing pundits like Malkin can lie with immunity.

BTW, the Times piece is just a weak piece of lazy journalism.

Headline with subhead:

Crowd estimates vary wildly for Capitol march: How many angry conservatives showed up to protest Obama's policies? Was it 2 million? Or 60,000? It all depends on whom you ask.

See how the bogus "2 million" mark was right there in the headline? It's then planted in the lede:

But even before the march was over, the news media, bloggers and rally supporters were wrangling over the crowd count, with estimates ranging from 60,000 to 2 million.

Where, specifically, did the (fictitious) 2 million figure come from? The Times never bothers to report that detail. The Times article is completely silent regarding the fact that Malkin pushed that concocted figure and did it by referring to a non-existent ABC News report. The Times is also silent regarding the fact that right-wing bloggers spent all of Saturday spreading the blatantly untrue 2 million figure, despite the fact ABC News was on the record denying it ever reported the crowd was that big.

In other words, the Times writes a story about Saturday's crowd estimates and completely misses the story, which was how the right-wing noise machine was, once again, busy spreading blatant lies and comical misinformation. But newspaper like the Times don't like to tell those kinds of tales. Because what would those nasty conservative bloggers would write in response?!

UPDATED: The Times concluded the actual crowd size was probably very low six figures:

Although no official crowd estimates were issued, local officials and an expert indicated the number was more likely under 100,000, still a sizable turnout.

The newspaper though, remains silent (it makes no judgment) regarding the fact that the bloggers' estimate, which the Times used in its headline and lede, was off by 1.9 million people.

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