Recentish Reading: Crowd Counting and Bias

The Art and Artifice of Counting Crowds (On the Media, 3 Sept. 2010):  This essay is all about bias and sloppy journalism using biased hearsay.

Crowd counter Steve Doig was “condemned by the right for lowballing Glenn Beck’s recent rally” at 80,000 people instead of Beck’s estimate of 300,000. When Doig estimated 800,000 on the mall for Obama’s inauguration — lower than the pre-event predictions of up to 5,000,000 — “those who didn’t really want to see Obama draw a big crowd” embraced his estimate while supporters ignored it.

“So, exactly the same methods predicted exactly the opposite reaction from the different ends of the political stream.

That’s bias at work.


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