But yesterday, someone told a real whopper. ABC News, citing the DC fire department, reported that between 60,000 and 70,000 people had attended the tea party rally at the Capitol. By the time this figure reached Michelle Malkin, however, it had been blown up to 2,000,000. There is a big difference, obviously, between 70,000 and 2,000,000. That's not a twofold or threefold exaggeration -- it's roughly a thirtyfold exaggeration.
The way this false estimate came into being is relatively simple: Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, lied, claiming that ABC News had reported numbers of between 1.0 and 1.5 million when they never did anything of the sort. A few tweets later, the numbers had been exaggerated still further to 2 million. Kibbe wasn't "in error", as Malkin gently puts it. He lied. He did the equivalent of telling people that his penis is 53 inches long.
Malkin, who to her credit later corrected the error, frets that it might be used to by liberals to "discredit the undeniably massive turnout". She's right to be worried -- it absolutely will be used that way. If you don't want to be discredited, then don't, as Kibbe did, tell a ridiculous (and easily disprovable) lie.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Lies, damn lies, and statistics
Five-thirty-eight discusses the crowd estimates at yesterdays the tea party and how the number got so inflated.