On Saturday I documented the paltry turnout at MoveOn.org and union rallies around the country (other than Madison, which did have a good turnout).
In The Village Voice this morning, Roy Edroso took me to task for my estimating that the protest nationwide (outside Madison) likely did not exceed 100,000. Edroso writes a column at The Voice titled, Exploring the Right Wing Blogosphere, another one of these people who looks at Tea Parties through binocluars, like on safari.
Here is the pertinent part of Erdoso’s column today:
“Last weekend rallies were held in all 50 states in support of the teachers’ union in Wisconsin. And at the Wisconsin state capitol, at least 70,000 people came out on Saturday to protest Governor Walker’s attempt to break the union.
Sounds like a big deal, right? Hundreds of thousands of people turned out on behalf of teachers in one state who were holding out for collective bargaining rights, despite opposition from Republicans and from bigtime “liberal” columnists who also consider schoolteachers grossly overcompensated….
You wouldn’t know it, though, from the report of Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who flatly declared, “50-State Union Protest Falls Far Short Of Predicted Turnout.”
Edroso went on to list some rallies I failed to include, none of which were sizable other than one supposedly large rally in San Francisco:
“Also consider the other rallies Jacobson excluded: San Francisco, for example, reported 50,000 attendees.”
There’s a problem here for Edroso.
The link which supposedly confirmed there were 50,000 people in San Francisco actually stated that there were only 2000 people at the San Francisco rally and that there were 50,000 people nationwide (outside Madison). This confirms my estimation that MoveOn.org and the unions failed to bring out significant numbers except in Madison.
In fact, this estimation was half my estimation, so surely that was some right-winger trying to smear the labor movement, right?
Wrong. The source for the 50,000 nationwide number was a MoveOn.org spokesman interviewed by the liberal AlterNet website:
A MoveOn organizer tells AlterNet that at least 50,000 people came out in the streets across the country for today’s Rally to Save the American Dream….
Outside the San Francisco Civic Center, one of the dozens of protests in all 50 states drew a boisterous crowd of approximately 2,000 people.
I have e-mailed Edroso calling his attention to the error and asking for a correction:
“Thanks for linking to me, but you messed up your cite for the San Fran rally, the report you link to refers to “A MoveOn organizer tells AlterNet that at least 50,000 people came out in the streets across the country” that was not the count for San Fran itself which the article put at 2000. So the MoveOn.org spokesman confirms what I said, which was that the national number (excluding Madison) was under 100k. I trust you will run a prominent correction since you used that erroneous San Fran number to assert that I was wrong and biased in my own reporting.”
I will keep you informed.
It’s Monday morning, and I’m smiling already.
[Note: I misspelled Edroso’s name in the original; that has been corrected.]
Update: Looks like Legal Insurrection readers are on the case:
but, Edroso refuses to run a correction, choosing instead merely to strike through his wrong numbers. That tactic is okay where the change in numbers doesn’t affect the entire point of the post, but the corrected MoveOn numbers disprove Edroso’s thesis that there was widespread support around the country. Even MoveOn puts the number (outside Madison) at only 50,000, yet Edroso persists in his thesis that the right-blogosphere deflated the numbers. Edrosos should run a prominent correction to his post, not just bury the error in a strikethrough: