Barack Obama visited Milwaukee on Saturday to rally the faithful in Wisconsin, which has turned into a potential swing state this year after Obama's fairly comfortable win by 6 points over John McCain in 2008. Reports on the event from Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press all cited the crowd at over 18,000 people. A local report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put the crowd at 5000, plus more in bleachers and on the pavement outside.
Politico and the WSJ stated that the event was held at the Henry Maier Festival Park. The festival park is home to Summerfest, a huge, 11-stage music festival held annually in Milwaukee. The park's largest venue, Marcus Ampitheater, holds 23,000. However, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel specifically states that Obama spoke at the BMO Harris Pavilion, also in the festival park, which photo and video evidence confirms.
The problem with the crowd estimates from the media? BMO Harris Pavilion only holds 5000 people total between its seats and bleachers, and it accommodates at most another 5000 people standing in an overflow area outside. Photos and video from the event show fairly full seats and bleachers, but they do not show throngs of people standing outside in the overflow area. One video made by an amateur, local journalist even shows some empty bleacher seats. At most, 5000 is a reasonable estimate of the crowd. 18,000 is simply impossible.
So how did local media manage to report 5000+, while national media came up with 18,000, in a pavilion that seats only 5000? And which two reporters from Politico, the WSJ, or the AP deserve to get sacked for plagiarizing what in this case turned out to be false information? Or did the national reporters huddle after (or before) the event to work out what they were going to report?
Obama did get huge crowds in Wisconsin in 2008. A rally in Madison just before the November election drew a crowd of approximately 80,000 around the state capital, and that rally has the photos and video to back up such estimates. In 2012? Obama struggled to fill anything more than a 5000-seat pavilion in a larger city, while the national media covered for him to give a crowd of 18,000.
Tags: barack, obama, milwaukee, politico, wsj, ap, media, lies, crowd, wisconsin, journal, sentinel, pavilion
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States (load item map)
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