Bigger than Beck's: Jon Stewart's rally eclipses Fox News pundit's effort

Stephen Foley
Monday 01 November 2010 01:00
Comments

There were an estimated 215,000 different interpretations of what just happened. As the throngs who attended Saturday's enormous "Rally to Restore Sanity" dispersed, there was no agreement on whether it had been a powerful answer to the Tea Party rallies that upturned politics last year, a popular uprising against the media, or just a hilarious free show by two of the hottest comedians in America.

There was one thing everyone wanted it to be, though, and that was bigger than Glenn Beck's Restoring Honour rally. And, yes, it trounced it. Mr Beck, the mewling Fox News host who had brought Tea Partiers to Washington two months earlier, had claimed between 300,000 and a million attendees; Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert claimed "somewhere between 10 million and one billion". The official arbiter, a CBS News-commissioned analysis, put Saturday's event on the National Mall at 215,000, compared with Mr Beck's 87,000. Certainly, it was many more than the comedians had dared to hope.

On stage, Mr Stewart urged an end to the influence of the cable news channels and their "politico pundit perpetual panic conflictinator", while among the crowd the sharpest debate was about who had come up with the wittiest placard. Many took aim at the Tea Party, generally, and its most extraordinary candidate, Christine O'Donnell, in particular. Others ranged from the smart ("Hyperbole is killing America's children") to the surreally irrelevant ("Raccoons are tiny burglars") to the sublimely self-congratulatory ("This is a good sign").

"There is an important distinction between what is shown on TV and what real people are like," said Oliver Dykstra, a political science student who had driven with friends for 22 hours from Minneapolis to be at the rally. "This proves there are lots of people out there who want sane, reasonable discourse."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in