Yesterday, former Fox News host Glenn Beck held his much-hyped and highly controversial "Restoring Courage" rally at the foot of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Today, he whined about the skimpy coverage of the event by the media. (Hint: If a pillar of fire had appeared or if the Zechariah prophecy had been fulfilled as Beck had predicted might happen, there might have been more coverage.)
Since no prophecies appear to have been fulfilled, Beck began inflating the numbers of attendees at his rally. According to a blog post from yesterday by Yahoo's Joe Pompeo, Beck's spokesman said that 4,700 people attended the rally. (1,700 attendees at the spot where Beck was speaking and an additional 3,000 at a remote location where Beck's event was broadcast live.) But by the time Beck went on the air today, Beck was suggesting that "five to seven" thousand people showed up at the remote location. He was immediately corrected by one of his aides who said there were "5,000 seats set up, and at last count, we had about 8,000 people that showed up, standing room only." Beck then said there were "10,000 people just in these two locations alone."
And lo and behold, in the space of one day, event attendees grew from 4,700 by Beck's own spokesman's reported count, to five to seven thousand, to 10,000.
Of course, this wouldn't be the first time Beck has grossly exaggerated attendance figures for his rallies. In the wake of his 8-28 "Restoring Honor" rally, Beck said he heard that the crowd had been "between 300,000 and 500,000." But according to an outside firm hired by CBS News, the only independent and semi-official estimate of the crowd was 87,000. Beck has also made the absurd claim that the 9-12 protests that he created and hyped were the "largest march on Washington [D.C.] ever," and said that a "really conservative" crowd estimate for that march was "500,000." Later, his estimated number for the 9-12 crowd grew to 750,000 or a million. In fact, one unofficial D.C. fire department estimate placed the number between 60,000 and 75,000 participants.
Maybe miracles do happen at Beck's events: The crowd size doubles (or sometimes grows by a factor of ten) without any explanation.