Before this went to press, CBS News made their own estimate: 215,000 versus their estimate of 87,000 for the Beck rally.
To which I say “Oh, nonsense.”
Their contractor, AirPhotosLive.com, it turns out, did at least publish an explanation of their methodology,.
AirPhotosLive.com is correct that trying to count oblique photos is unsatisfactory, which is why we don’t: we use the oblique photos to get geography bounds on the crowd against landmarks, and then make a range of estimates using the Park Service’s own standards for crowd density.
The Beck rally covered roughly 2.4 million square feet and by AirPhotosLive’s own photographs large parts of that area were packed as densely as any overhead picture of Stewart/Colbert. The Stewart/Colbert rally had, at most, about 6/10th the space — 1.62 million square feet vs. 2.4 million. For it to have had that many people, they would have had to be packed about 6.7 times more densely than the densest parts of the Beck crowd.
Not a chance. Not even if they were packed in olive oil.
The lying, cheating bastards never stop. This is a big reason why I refuse to watch TV. I don't want to be lied to on a daily basis. And I'm certainly not going to pay for the privilege.