Paul Cooper

Media Matters Hides Facts to Smear Recent Beck Event

Posted on October 28 2010 11:00 am
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.
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Media Matters will twist anything to target Beck.

Media Matters for America pretends they are fighting conservative misinformation with the truth. But most of their George Soros funded work is about trying to bring down popular conservatives with misinformation.  Probably their all time favorite target for lies and half truths is Glenn Beck. Lately, the fake news organization has set its sights on trying to make one of the most in demand speakers in America seem unpopular.

On Tuesday afternoon Glenn Beck appeared before an excited audience in Rapid City, South Dakota to plug his latest book and speak on behalf of a local Tea Party organization.  By all unbiased accounts the event drew a nice crowd and the organizers were very happy with the experience.  Now look how Media Matters presented this program:

Once again, Glenn Beck struggles to draw a big crowd

Beck appeared at a rally in Rapid City, S.D. yesterday in connection with his book release tour. Beck spoke at the local civic center which holds about 10,000 people. When Beck spoke, 3/4 of the arena was empty.

Here is the big picture they posted with the short comment:

In one sense, Media Matters does not lie in the little they wrote about the event.  But their distortion is in the title, what facts they didn’t reveal, and the picture they chose to use.

First of all, that picture was taken before the Glenn Beck event was even close to starting.  Early birds were just then finding their seats.  Media Matters clearly attemped to show that image as representative of the final crowd.  How petty do you have to be to attack someone’s popularity by using a picture taken before the crowd had all showed up?

Here is an image of the event while Beck was speaking:

Now let’s look at the numbers they use. The attendance of 2,500 was provided by the Rapid City Journal and does appear to be accurate. The question is if that is actually a low number for this event as Media Matters portrays.

The convention space is large enough to seat up to 9,400 people for a reserved seating event like this one.  So there were plenty of empty seats, but is that the type of crowd the organizers were going to get when you actually know all the circumstances? Media Matters doesn’t give you any information except how many seats are there and how many were taken. They purposefully ignored some important facts that give the event context.

First of all, this event took place at 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon. This was not a weekend or even weekday evening event. Beck was stopping there before heading to a bigger city. Secondly, this is South Dakota folks.  The population of the whole state is less than the population of mid-sized cities like Indianapolis, Indiana. The population of Rapid City, South Dakota is under 60,000 people. Who in the world could get 1 out of every 6 people (and that includes children) in a city to come to any event at 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon?

The Beck event also was a ticketed affair. And we’re not talking 5 buck general seating. Tickets cost anywhere from 126 bucks down to $20 for the “cheap” seats. And to make for a tougher sell, the tickets only went on sell five days before the event. Glenn Beck was only last-minute scheduled to speak a few weeks prior. Oh, and one more thing, a horrendous and damaging wind storm rocked the city along with much of the midwest all that day.

I live near a small city that is a good deal larger than Rapid City, South Dakota and I would be shocked if anyone could pull in 2500 ticket paying people on a Tuesday afternoon with vicious weather. We had Hillary Clinton come visit during her campaign for president and she only pulled in 2-300 on a weekday morning. Then Senator Obama came here and only filled a high school gym, and that was on a Friday night. Did Media Matters cover those events as signs the Clinton and Obama message wasn’t popular? Of course not.

I am all for a healthy and fair debate between the ideas of people like Glenn Beck and the views of the Media Matters folk, but let’s at least attempt to be honest. Either Media Matters needs to commit to facts or admit they will do whatever it takes to shut down their enemies.

Which is it going to be?


Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else.  With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less.  Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner.  Find him on Twitter.

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