[W]here did national reporters get their numbers? Probably from the White House pool report, which reported that an Obama campaign official told the pooler that Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett said that the crowd was 18,000.Sounds like something Barrett would do.
From the report:
Obama spoke to a large crowd in an amphitheater. O campaign official said Mayor Barrett said crowd was 18,000. Crowd was enthusiastic, even as rain started to come down and the wind picked up. POTUS wrapped up his remarks at about 5:47 p.m. Motorcade departed event site at 6 p.m. headed to airport.
According to the Obama campaign and parroted by its liberal media allies, about 18,000 people attended the Obama rally at Milwaukee's lakefront late on Saturday afternoon.
The campaign event was held on the Summerfest grounds at the new BMO Harris Pavilion.
It's a nice venue, a new addition in 2012, but it's considerably smaller than the Marcus Amphitheater. It holds 23,000.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama held a Labor Day rally at the Marcus, filled to capacity.
People stood in line for hours to get tickets to the event, and Obama spoke for 14 MINUTES!
That aside, Obama drew a lot of people.
Things are very different for Obama in 2012.
In 2008, Obama accepted the Democrat nomination at Invesco Field, with tens of thousands of people in attendance.
He was supposed to have a similar extravaganza in Charlotte, but those plans were scratched, allegedly because of a threat of rain. Obama's acceptance speech was moved from the Bank of America Stadium indoors, accommodating a much smaller crowd.
In sum, the thrill is gone.
We all know it.
Nonetheless, the Obama campaign doesn't want to admit that reality.
The attendance figures at Obama's rally in Milwaukee on Saturday appear to have been inflated dramatically by the Obama campaign and repeated by the media.
From Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart's Big Journalism:
President Barack Obama is having trouble drawing large crowds on the campaign trail. At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, his campaign was forced to move his acceptance speech from the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium to the 20,000 Time Warner Cable Arena, citing weather as the excuse. But the media are always eager to help--for example, putting 18,000 people inside a 5,000-seat arena at an Obama event in Milwaukee on Saturday.The national media did a poor job of covering Obama's Milwaukee appearance.
The contradiction was first noted by battlegroundwatch.com. Local media, including the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reported that Obama had addressed "supporters who filled the 5,000-seat BMO Harris Pavilion, along with thousands more who sat in bleachers and stood on the pavement beyond the protection of the roof, even as wind and rain lashed down in the latter moments of the near 30-minute speech."
The pavilion was not "filled"--a local reporter for Patch.com filmed empty seats in the bleachers at the side of the arena (see above). Nevertheless, the Journal-Sentinal played it safe, putting attendance at roughly 5,000-plus, a small but respectable turnout.
That's not how national media covered it. Darren Samuelsohn of Politico reported that the president addressed "a crowd the Obama campaign estimated at 18,000 in a city park overlooking Lake Michigan" in an attempt to "lock up" Wisconsin.
Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal--whose news section, according to UCLA professor Tim Groseclose, is the most liberal of any major mainstream outlet--repeated the campaign's 18,000 claim without even revealing the source of the official-sounding estimate.
Both outlets described the location of the rally as a "park," without revealing the name of the arena itself, which would have given the game away.
The images provided by news wires are predominantly close-up shots such as the one above, showing Obama surrounded by a small circle of supporters. Only Getty Images has a wider shot, similar to images at the left-wing message board Democratic Underground that show the inside of the arena. That's a full-ish arena, but nowhere near 18,000 people.
There seem to be no images at all of the 13,000 people who supposedly made up the difference outside the BMO Harris Pavilion.
The BMO Harris Pavilion is not located in a "city park."
Plus, it should be noted that a much larger venue was just steps away, the very place where Obama delivered his 14 minute speech in 2008 to a packed house.
The rally wasn't held there for a reason.