My friend's cousin said there were 4 million people there

Yesterday on his radio program, while discussing the crowds at this weekend's 9/12 protests, Glenn Beck claimed that the LondonTelegraph “quote[d] a source from the Park Service, the National Park Service, saying that it is the largest march on Washington ever.” This led to a good deal of confusion here, as the Telegraph article contains no such quote. Just another case of Beck making things up? Actually, the story behind this turns out to be much funnier than we could have anticipated.

Several conservative blogs have been quoting National Park Service spokesman “Dan Bana” as saying the 9/12 protest was “the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.” This appears to be a repurposing of this quote from David Barna (who, unlike Dan Bana, appears to be a real person):

David Barna, a Park Service spokesman, said the agency did not conduct its own count. Instead, it will use a Washington Post account that said 1.8 million people gathered on the US Capitol grounds, National Mall, and parade route.

“It is a record,” Barna said. “We believe it is the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.”

Very impressive! Unfortunately, as Little Green Footballs pointed out, that quote was actually about the inauguration:

This is so pathetic I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Dozens - if not hundreds - of right wing blogs are running with this quote, portraying it as a statement about the tea party held last weekend: 'We believe it is the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.'

The quote is from January. The National Park Service spokesman was talking about Barack Obama's inauguration.

Pam Geller quoted “Dan Bana” as saying this on Saturday. She cited Thomas Lifson at American “Thinker,” who also calls him “Dan Bana.” In keeping with his fellow conservatives, Lifson doesn't feel the need to provide a link for his outlandish crowd estimates:

Despite mainstream media attempts to characterize turnout as in the thousands, a spokesman for the National Park Service, Dan Bana, is quoted as saying “It is a record.... We believe it is the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.”

True, “Dan Bana” definitely “is quoted” as saying this. By whom? Well, Thomas Lifson.

Imaginary ABC News reports, unnamed universities, invented quotes, and for safe keeping, the journalistic equivalent of “I heard this one dude say.”

From Pam Geller:

Here's the video over at CSPAN of millions on the mall. Incredible. Look at the pan of the crowd shot. The left fascists are debating the number to take the focus off what happened in Washington, D.C., this weekend. I'll go with the Parks department estimates, thankyouverymuch.

A 9-12 participant in DC claims to have overheard DC police discussing the crowd numbers. They put the numbers at over 2 million -- and those were only the people who could make it into the city. The local authorities as well as many participants claim that many many more could not even get into the city to the core of the protest.

Yes, she cited someone who “claims to have overheard DC police discussing the crowd numbers.” Your conservative blogosphere, ladies and gentleman.

(H/T: DMS)