23 January 2017

THOSE DAMN ALTERNATE FACTS & Donald Trump had biggest inaugural crowd ever? Metrics don't show it 21JAN17

Donald Trump had biggest inaugural crowd ever? Metrics don't show it

By Linda Qiu 
This pair of photos shows a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, above, on Jan. 20, 2009, and President Donald Trump, below, on Jan. 20, 2017.
At the first press conference of the new administration, White House press secretary Sean Spicer blasted the media, saying they deliberately misled the public about the size of President Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd.
"Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular Tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall," Spicer said on Jan. 21. "That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe."
Spicer offered a few "facts" to disprove media reports of low turnout, but many of them are misleading or inaccurate. His overall assertion that Trump’s inaugural drew the "largest audience" ever is flat-out wrong.
Infrastructure issues
Spicer pointed to changes in infrastructure that gave the illusion of low turnout.
It was the "first time" that floor coverings were used to protect the grass on the National Mall, which had highlighted empty spots in the inaugural crowd, an effect not experienced in past inaugurations, he said.
But this is not the case. Floor coverings were also used in 2013, and floor coverings remained on the Mall during the Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration.
Spicer also blamed the "first time" usage of fencing and magnetometers on the Mall for "preventing hundreds of thousands of people being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had inaugurations past."
According to a 2017 Congressional Research Service report, screening magnetometers, or metal detectors, have been used in past inaugurations, though it’s not clear if they were placed on the Mall itself. The screening zones, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, did include two busy metro stops close to the Mall.
Spicer’s claim was also disputed by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, who tweeted that two unnamed law enforcement officials told him "magnetometers were not used in the areas Spicer said they were on the Mall."  
Crowd size
Spicer then knocked the press for tweeting out "inaccurate numbers involving crowd size."
"No one had numbers because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out," he said.  "We do know a few things. So let’s go through the facts."
"We know that from the platform from where the President was sworn in to 4th Street holds about 250,000 people. From 4th Street to the media tent is about another 220,000. And from the media tent to the Washington Monument another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the President took the oath of office."
Many news organizationsincluding PolitiFact, have noted that it’s difficult to gauge crowd size and that estimates are inconsistent. The National Park Service stopped tallying crowds on the National Mall in 1995 after a dispute over the attendance of the Million Man March.
Spicer’s claim of full spaces on the Mall -- which photographs contradict -- would give Trump a crowd size of at least 720,000, which is higher than preliminary estimates reported in the media but are on par with the 700,000 to 900,000 organizers expected to attend. The President himself touted 1.5 million on Jan. 21 at CIA headquarters. But that still wouldn’t have been the top figure.
Here are the attendance estimates for past inaugurations:
Trump, 2017
Barack Obama, 2013
1 million
Obama, 2009
1.8 million
George W. Bush, 2005
Bush, 2001
Bill Clinton, 1997
Clinton, 1993
George H.W. Bush, 1989
Metro ridership
Spicer said 420,000 used the D.C. Metro public transit on Jan. 20, 2017, compared with  317,000 for President Obama’s 2013 inaugural.
It’s unclear where his 420,000 figure for Trump’s inaugural comes from, but the Washington Post reported that for Trump’s inaugural around 570,557 took trips in the system between 4 a.m and midnight on Friday. Inauguration day 2013 drew more, at about 782,000.
Spicer’s 317,000 figure refers to ridership as of 11 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2013, reported the WMATA. Trump’s inaugural drew about 193,000 as of the same time.
Here’s a breakdown of ridership of the most recent inaugurations:
Metro ridership (whole day)
Metro ridership (as of 11 a.m.)
Jan. 20, 2017 (Trump inaugural)
Jan. 21, 2013* (Obama inaugural)
Jan. 20, 2009 (Obama inaugural)
Jan. 20, 2005 (Bush inaugural)
*Note: Obama’s second inauguration was Jan. 21 instead of Jan. 20, which fell on a Sunday.
Our ruling
Spicer said, "That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period."
To support his claim, Spicer offered a few pieces of misleading or inaccurate evidence.
He said that floor coverings highlighting empty spaces on the National Mall were not used for previous inaugurations, but these were in place for Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
He claimed metro ridership was higher for Trump’s inaugural than for Obama’s 2013 inaugural, but he compared numbers for the morning of Obama’s inaugural to the whole day for Trump’s.
Spicer suggested 720,000 attended Trump’s inauguration, while organizers said they expected 700,000 to 900,000, and Trump himself estimated 1.5 million. All of those figures are less than the 1.8 million people who attended Obama’s 2009 inaugural.
We rate Spicer’s claim Pants on Fire.

About this statement:

Published: Saturday, January 21st, 2017 at 9:13 p.m.
Researched by: Linda Qiu
Edited by: Angie Drobnic Holan


PolitiFact, "Inaugural crowd sizes ranked," Jan. 20, 2017
White House press release, "Statement by press secretary Sean Spicer," Jan. 21, 2017
White House press release, "Remarks by President Trump and Vice President Pence at CIA Headquarters," Jan. 21, 2017
Congressional Research Service, "Inauguration Security: Operations, Appropriations, and Issues for Congress," Jan. 11, 2017
WMATA, "Inaugural Service Update," Dec. 6, 2012
Twitter, Michael S. Schmidt status, Jan. 21, 2017
Twitter, "WMATA status," Jan. 20, 2017
Twitter, "Ashley Killough status," Jan. 21, 2017

Share The Facts
Sean Spicer
White House Press Secretary

"That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period."

Fighting For The Facts: How To Tell What’s News And What’s Fiction & Trump Administration Goes To War With The Media Over Inauguration Crowd Size 23&21JAN17

THE drumpf/trump-pence administration continues their assault on the media. They are copying the same tactics hitler used and vladmir putin uses to deceive the people, a constant and consistent drumbeat of lies until the people believe them. How long will it take, how much damage to our Republic will be done until before the American people wake up and realize what they have done? These from +NPR 

Fighting For The Facts: How To Tell What’s News And What’s Fiction

There’s big money to be made warping reality, but now, some of the world’s biggest newsrooms are setting themselves up to call out lies when they happen. Joshua Johnson talks with two media reporters about what can be done to fight what’s often called “fake news,” and the false accusations of “fake news.” Plus, we’ll hear from a news literacy expert for tips on how not to get duped by fiction masquerading as journalism.


  • Brian Stelter host of CNN’s Reliable Sources; senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. He reports and writes for CNN and CNNMoney.
  • Margaret Sullivan media columnist, The Washington Post.
  • Alan Miller founder and president, The News Literacy Project; Pulitzer Prize-winning former journalist with the Los Angeles Times.

How To Identify "Fake News"

The News Literacy Project has put together a quick checklist for verifying information. These 10 steps can help you tell between a real story and a hoax.
1. Gauge your emotional reaction: Is it strong? Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information turns out to be true? False?
2. Reflect on how you encountered this. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by someone you know?
3. Consider the headline or main message:
a. Does it use excessive punctuation(!!) or ALL CAPS for emphasis?
b. Does it make a claim about containing a secret or telling you something that “the media” doesn’t want you to know?
c. Don’t stop at the headline! Keep exploring.
4. Is this information designed for easy sharing, like a meme?
5. Consider the source of the information:
a. Is it a well-known source?
b. Is there a byline (an author’s name) attached to this piece?
c. Go to the website’s “About” section: Does the site describe itself as a “fantasy news” or “satirical news” site?
d. Does the person or organization that produced the information have any editorial standards?
e. Does the “contact us” section include an email address that matches the domain (not a Gmail or Yahoo email address)?
f. Does a quick search for the name of the website raise any suspicions?
6. Does the example you’re evaluating have a current date on it?
7. Does the example cite a variety of sources, including official and expert sources? Does the information this example provides appear in reports from (other) news outlets?
8. Does the example hyperlink to other quality sources? In other words, they haven’t been altered or taken from another context?
9. Can you confirm, using a reverse image search, that any images in your example are authentic (in other words, sources that haven’t been altered or taken from another context)?
10. If you searched for this example on a fact-checking site such as or, is there a fact-check that labels it as less than true?
You can find more advice on vetting news sources on the News Literacy Project website.

Trump Administration Goes To War With The Media Over Inauguration Crowd Size

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivers a statement in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on Saturday.
Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty Images
Updated at 9:00 a.m. ET
The Trump Administration spent its first full day in office taking shots at the media and arguing about crowd sizes at Friday's inauguration.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivered a fiery broadside against the Fourth Estate from the White House Briefing Room Saturday evening, claiming that reporters had engaged in "deliberately false reporting" in the past 24 hours since President Trump took the oath of office. And, after berating the press, he walked away without taking any questions.
"Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall," Spicer claimed.
He blamed new floor coverings on mall areas that "had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing, while in years past the grass eliminated this visual." And Spicer claimed that fences and magnetometers going further back than ever prevented "hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the mall as quickly as they had in years past."
However, CNN reporter Ashley Killough tweeted out a photo showing that floor coverings had in fact been used at Obama's second inauguration.
Spicer correctly said that the National Park Service does not do crowd estimates any longer, so that there was no official estimate to rely on, and NPR has made no official estimation of crowd size because official figures aren't available.
But then Spicer went on to make his own estimate on the crowd size and incorrectly claimed that the number of people who used the Washington D.C. Metro on Friday had outpaced the number of people who used the service during President Obama's second inaugural.
In 2009, 317,000 people had, in fact, used the Metro by 11 a.m., according to WMATA, as Spicer cited. But the White House press secretary then claimed that 420,000 people had used the Metro on Friday; by 11 a.m. only 193,000 people had ridden Metro. For the whole day on Friday, 570,000 people used the system, but in 2013 there were 782,000 riders and 1.1 million riders in 2009 — both much larger than Trump's inauguration.
"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe," Spicer said in another unverifiable claim.
Spicer's own math was that there were 250,000 people in the immediate area of the inaugural dais at the Capitol, and another 220,000 from 4th Street to the media tents. Spicer then claimed there were another 250,000 people from the media tents to the Washington Monument.
"All of this space was full when the president took the oath of office," Spicer said, claiming the entire area from the Capitol to the Washington Monument was full.
However, aerial photographs show that claim is false. The area just in front of the Washington Monument was sparsely populated and far from full, as confirmed by photographs and from NPR's reporters on the ground.
Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the television audience was larger than the second inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013. Ratings from Nielsen showed an audience of 30.6 million on Friday. Their ratings from 2013 back up Trump's assertion, with an audience of 20.5 million.
Past inaugurations measured by Nielsen that exceeded the audience for Trump's inauguration include Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009, Ronald Reagan's in 1981, Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Richard Nixon in 1973 — the only president to have a larger audience for his second inauguration than his first since these ratings have been compiled.
The dispute over crowd size came Saturday as thousands and thousands of women and men gathered in D.C. and in major cities around the country and the world to participate in the Women's March on Washington to protest Trump's agenda on women's rights and his past statements degrading women.
Trump himself had made similar claims disputing crowd estimates earlier on Saturday when he traveled to the CIA to address intelligence officers. The president said he believed there was anywhere between 1 million and 1.5 million people on the National Mall as he delivered his inaugural address, and he also falsely claimed it stopped raining and the sun came out just as he started speaking when, in fact, the rain continued and the day remained overcast and cloudy.
Spicer lectured reporters for not focusing more on Trump's CIA speech, telling them "that's what you folks should be writing and covering instead of sowing division about tweets and false narratives."
Spicer also complained about a report from pool reporter Zeke Miller of Time Magazine on Friday that Trump had removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Oval Office. Miller later admitted he had made a mistake, apologized and reported that it had "been obscured" by a Secret Service agent and a door." President Trump himself also attacked Miller over that mistake in his speech at the CIA.
Spicer claimed that report was "irresponsible" and "reckless," but in fact the press secretary had tweeted Friday night that he accepted Miller's apology.
Spicer ended with an unprecedented warning that they would hold the press accountable and go around them when necessary.
"The American people deserve better, and as long as he serves as the messenger for this incredible movement," Spicer said of the president, "he will take his message directly to the American people, where his focus will always be."