Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Think Progress reports on a ridiculous resolution submitted by 76 House Republicans commemorating the 9/12 rally in Washington DC. The resolution repeats the absurd lie that the rally had nearly 2 million people there:

Whereas, on September 12, 2009, hundreds of thousands of American patriots, who refuse to sit idly by as the Federal Government advances skyrocketing deficits, taxpayer-funded bailouts, pork-barrel projects, burdensome taxes, unaccountable policy czars, command-and-control energy policy, and a government takeover of health care, came to Washington, DC, to show their disapproval;…

Whereas estimates of the number of people who peacefully marched from Freedom Plaza to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on September 12, 2009, range as high as 1,700,000 marchers;


There were not hundreds of thousands of people at the rally and there sure as hell weren’t 1.7 million people. That “estimate” was, in fact, a baldfaced lie from Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, as Nate Silver documents. It was quickly repeated by conservative bloggers, but even the mildly credible among them quickly retracted the claim when the lie was exposed.

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.

The even less credible right wing bloggers went so far as to post a picture of an entirely different rally from many years earlier, claiming it was from the 9/12 event. And now we have 76 Republican legislators repeating the lie. Nice work.