Attendance at Thursday's pro-illegal alien rally fell way below even the latest low-balling protest organizer estimates. In Friday's Washington Post, reporters Darryl Fears and N.C. Aizenman estimated that "fewer than 5,000" attended the festivities yesterday. The first paragraph was a stunner:
A pro-immigration rally that promised to bring tens of thousands of marchers from across the nation to Washington yesterday managed to draw only a paltry number of demonstrators, raising questions about the movement's tactics and staying power.
This is odd, considering that yesterday's Post had the real original estimate in it:
"Organizers initially predicted a turnout of 1 million, but they now are projecting a crowd similar to the one at a rally on the National Mall on April 10. A police official estimated that the demonstration drew at least 100,000 people; organizers pegged attendance about 500,000."
The Post's Karin Brulliard also noted the million-protester estimate in the third paragraph of her article on August 31: "Organizers say their goal is 1 million protesters from up and down the East Coast for a rally on the Mall and a march to the White House."
The headline of Friday's article did suggest the obvious loss of protester momentum: "Immigration Rally's Low Turnout Dissappoints Advocates: Fear of Blacklash [sic], Mixed Messages, Timing Are Cited." Almost everyone quoted was a protester or protest organizer, although House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies did offer some balance from the anti-illegal immigration perspective.
Fears and Aizenman used no liberal labels for any of the "immigrant rights advocates" they quoted, even as the star speakers at the rally were all liberal Democrats, like Ted Kennedy. (Radio shows, including Laura Ingraham's, had fun with soundbites of Kennedy speaking in broken Spanish.) The story ended on a rather pathetic note:
Rick Swartz, an immigration rights advocate, said the timing of yesterday's rally was also at fault. "It's a Thursday," he said. "People work. Even immigrants have lives."
That says a lot about the passion of the protests. Didn't they all take the day off for the May 1 boycott march?
UPDATE: The Friday Post had an interesting story on officials cracking down on phony-wedding scams for illegal immigrants by Jerry Markon and Jamie Stockwell. It sounds like the kind of story television would enjoy -- if it wasn't so devoted to promoting illegal aliens.