Eric Boehlert of Media Matters wonders why Pamela Geller’s SMALLER hate fest today got more media attention than did the LARGER pro-mosque rally last night:
If you haven’t heard about it, you’re not alone. But note this nugget buried in an AP report late last night [emphasis added]:
More than 2,000 supporters of the project, waving candles and American flags, held a vigil near the proposed Islamic center’s site Friday evening instead of Saturday, saying they wanted to avoid entangling the mosque controversy and the Sept. 11 observance.
You might recall that activists opposed to the construction of the Islamic community center held a very loud rally on Aug. 22; a rally that drew widespread media coverage. How many attended that event? Approximately 1,000, or half as many who attended yesterday’s pro-mosque event.
Our Jillian Rayfield has a good wrap-up of the anti-Park51 protest down near Ground Zero this afternoon.
A few points worth noting. A police officer Jill spoke to at the event estimated the size of the crowd at about 1500. And despite efforts to bus people in from different parts of the country, Jill says it seemed to be overwhelmingly a local crowd. And there was a big turnout of counter-protestors as well.
Press reports suggest that the pro-tolerance demonstration had almost as many attendees as the hate festival which kicked off at 3 pm.
According to the Associated Press, attendance at Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s international hate rally was less than 1,000: The Associated Press: Dueling demonstrations begin after 9/11 memorial.
After the ceremony, around 1,000 activists rallied about five blocks from the site of the 2001 attacks to support the proposed Islamic community center. A smaller group of opponents rallied nearby, chanting, “USA, USA.”
UPDATE at 9/11/10 6:27:36 pm:
Hilarious! Geller is claiming 40,000. Who could ever have predicted that?
UPDATE at 9/11/10 6:41:30 pm:
Pamela Geller’s closing words to the seething throng:
As the crowds dissipated, Geller warned them against talking to members of the media: “Do not give them any ammunition. You know who you are. You know that you’re righteous. Do not give them an opportunity to deride this fine and honorable effort. Remember what I’m saying. They’re looking to catch you. Don’t give it to them.”
“Listen to Mommy,” she said.