Last week, I wrote to you about Moral Mondays and the prominent, opportunistic liberal demagogue behind the movement – Reverend William Barber, the President of the NC chapter of NAACP and NC’s version of Al Sharpton. There was a big march that took place this past Saturday called “Moral March”, an extension of the Moral Monday movement, and which saw liberal activists from around the state and bused in from out of state join Barber in a “call to arms” of sorts to rail against the state GOP for “racism, sexism”, etc. You know, the usual progressive “complaints” about the right.
The supposed ‘big news’ to come out of the march was that “80,000 to 100,000” people were in attendance at the Raleigh rally, a number which – if accurate – would have allegedly made it the biggest civil rights march since Selma according to the left, a bragging point Barber and his devotees would love to be able to credibly use in order to help raise more money for future events and to, of course, rally the faithful. However, anyone who knows anything at all about Raleigh could look at the pictures and see there was no where near close to that amount of people there, even though the crowd was indeed a large size.
What was the source of the 80-100K number? Originally, the NC NAACP tweeted this number out, and – according to conservative talk show host David Webb, who was at the event and tried to talk to Barber – it was given also given out in a speech Rev. Barber himself made to attendees of the march. Not long after that tweet, USA Today writer Jon Ostendorff – who also writes for the Asheville [NC] Citizen-Times – tweeted out that “Organizers” said there were that many at the march. Two hours later, in a piece he wrote on the march for USA Today, he used the number without attribution:
Rev. William Barber II made the promise before a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 people during the Moral March on Raleigh.
If he got that number from the NC NAACP’s tweet, Barber, or someone else affiliated, I don’t know because not only did he not note it in his report – which led readers to believe that the count was “official”, but he didn’t respond to repeated requests for clarification. After failing to get a response from one USA Today editor, I went to USA Today’s site on Tuesday and found the email and contact information for the standards editor and emailed and tweeted him. This time, I got a response:
@sistertoldjah Thanks for sharing. I've shared with editors, who are reviewing. Appreciate your readership!
— Brent Jones (@TweetBrentJones) February 11, 2014
The next day, a correction was issued, in huge letters, at the top of the story:
Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story should have attributed the crowd estimate to the Rev. William Barber II, president of North Carolina’s NAACP. The Raleigh Police Department has declined to provide an estimated number of march participants.
Questions, however, remain – not from USA Today but from local news outlets like Raleigh-Durham’s WTVD, whose Moral March coverage included this odd tidbit:
Rev. Barber expected up to 25,000 people from the Triangle and bused in from all over the state. Yet, NC NAACP logistics expert estimates between 80,000 and 100,000 people attended Saturday’s march. Last year the numbers were between 17,000 and 20,000.
“Logistics expert”? Really? I’d be interested in finding out who that “logistics expert” in the NC NAACP was. Was it Barber? I suspect WTVD wouldn’t be too keen on giving out the answer, seeing as they didn’t source the number to begin with beyond stating it came from a “logistics expert” within the NC NAACP. But it might be worth trying to contact them to find out. Whether they would answer is another matter, considering how sympathetic they and other local media outlets appear to be with Democrats and their left wing allies in NC.
In any event, a big thank you to standards editor Brent Jones for promptly addressing the issue and having the correction posted where readers wouldn’t be able to help but see it. As a daily reader of the USA Today’s online edition, it’s comforting to know that they’re willing to at least review correction requests if not act on them later. Now if we could just get the “progressive” sites that gleefully ran with the 80-100k number – insinuating it was an official estimate – to do the same …