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17314: Chamberlain: 17300: (Arthur) Hundreds, or was that thousands? (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
Let's not get too smug about the easy blood sport of criticising
crowd-counts, any place, any time.
Each protesting side will usually over-count its own people (the 15,000
estimate by the anti-govt organisers), either with the aim of deceit or
through wishful thinking.
The authorities and police, also with the aim of deceit, will usually
under-count the anti-govt protesters (the "peu nombreux" of the
pro-government news agency AHP).
The journalists and some others will make an effort to get an accurate
If you've tried counting a crowd (instead of getting swept along with the
passion of the occasion and breaking off the attempt after a few seconds
and giving a wild estimate because "well, that's not my job, you're a
journalist" etc), you'll see that the size of a crowd changes is often
constantly changing. Hence the difficulty of citing a single accurate
figure. Also, the stories will often have been filed at different times in
the protest, at which times the crowd will possibly be different sizes,
with different things happening in the confrontation.
The LATimes' "8,000 demonstrate against president" is clearly an editing
error by the LATimes desk editor -- a botched attempt to write a one
paragraph brief (the item is 60 words long) using the Paisley Dodds AP
story (it uses the same wording but screws up on the transfer of the figure
from the 3rd paragraph of the original).