The NYT said this in the run-up to events in Washington, ginving an impression that there would be two pretty large gatherings:
Two political foes –- Glenn Beck and the Rev. Al Sharpton Jr. -– are gathering hundreds of thousands of their supporters on the National Mall today for simultaneous rallies commemorating the anniversary of the March on Washington. The Tea Party faithful assembled before the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this morning waiting for speeches from their superstars, Mr. Beck and Sarah Palin…In a counter-protest, Mr. Sharpton and other civil rights activists will march from Dunbar High School in Northwest Washington to the construction site of the new King memorial…Between the two events, hundreds of thousands of people could swarm the Mall.
To be fair to the Times, its follow-up piece was a little clearer on the numbers: “Beck…event organizers put the number of attendees at 500,000; NBC News said it was closer to 300,000…Across town, several hundred people packed a football field at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.” Hard to spin a disparity like that.