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BLOGGING THE 'SANITY' RALLY: Massive Turnout—Here's Full Report! | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

BLOGGING THE 'SANITY' RALLY: Massive Turnout—Here's Full Report!

As is my wont here, I'll be following a major event, in this case the Jon Stewart (plus Stephen Colbert) rally in DC all day, via online and TV, with updates added from the top with a time stamp. 

Late Saturday update: Expert company hired by CBS to do aerial count of turnout at Glenn Beck's rally in August—they came up with 87,000, give or take a few—just announced its findings for the Stewart/Colbert demo. The number:  215,000, or 2 1/2 times the Beck turnout.

2:55: Closes with Jon thanking crowd for restoring HIS sanity. Brings out Tony Bennett for great "America the Beautiful" (Tony can still hit the high notes). Then everyone there for Staples' "I'll Take You There." Kareem on stage with everyone else. Comedy Central signs off at 3, C-SPAN still with crowd and questions from viewers.

2:45 Jon finally turning serious, long hit at media, defense of doing good work, almost preaching. "We live in hard times, not end times." "If we amplify everything we hear nothing." "We work to get things done every damn day." Only place we don't "is here [DC] and cable TV."

2:35 As I predicted, wingnuts going nuts over Cat Stevens at rally.

2:25 Jon and Stephen at podiums. Robots. Some fun slaps at scary cable news reports. Equal opportunity, plenty of Keith and Ed Schultz hits. Too equal?

2:20 Sheryl Crow, as promised. With, surprise, Kid Rock. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as example of good Muslim. Surely the biggest example. 

2:10 Fun Jon & Stephen duet. Then more awards. Fear award for Mark Zuckerberg for not protecting privacy on Facebook.

1:55 Jon and Stephen hand out sanity and fear awards. Great Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Tweedy song. 

1:35 Jon and Stephen compromise on O'Jays and "Love Train." CNN cuts to Ted Nugent at GOP rally in W. Virginia.

1:25 Cat "Yusef" Stevens on to do "Peace Train."  Kind of gutsy given usual rigthwing attacks on him. Or is it Jimmy Kimmel portraying Cat? No, real, and Ozzie interrupts for the "Fear" side.

1:20 Fox showing Tea Party rallies—thanksgod they ignored Guido Sarducci at Jon's rally. Now Sam Waterston on to read Colbert poem that is pretty good.

1:10 Colbert arrives after lame first few minutes with Jon and Stephen off-stage. 

1:05 Jon claims 10 million there and perfect "demographic" of USA. Then on to Daily Show correspondents in crowd.   Colbert due at 1:20. Interesting: 6 second tape delay  online live vs. TV pickup.

12:55 Jon takes stage. Only Fox cuts away for it briefly. "Some folks" have gathered, they say. "Star Spangled Banner"  by "4 Troops" group. Then Jon begs for no littering. 

12:50 First crowd estimate from the stage: 150,000. Or: 1,150,000 in BeckWorld. Sign in the crowd: "Birthers for Hawaii statehood." Crowd size should peak at 2 pm.

12:40  Now on to the comedy or at least performance art. Doing the wave. Even Olivia Munn would be an improvement on this. The 100 Huff Post buses stuck in traffic may turn back to NY if they have heard about this.

12:35 Another cool sign: Little girl in a princess dress with the sign "I'm taking back my tea party."

12:25 Sign spotted in crowd: "GET BIG GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY CAULDRON."

12:20 The Roots return to 1973 with Bil Withers classic tune. Jon Stewart still set for 1 pm. CSPAN covering fulltime now.  And natch Comedy Central.

Noon The Roots kick it off right on time with hip-hop. Colbert tweets his early estimate of crowd: 6 million. Must be using Beck as spotter.

11:45: Fox into 2nd hour of counter-programming. Jack Welch, even.

11:40 What's gotten little coverage so far: "Sanity" rallies in other cities.

11:30 Live feed from NBC via TPM here. Ironically, ad next to it right now for GOPer who is leading Colbert fave John Hall in hot NY race for House. 

11:25: CNN and MSNBC cut away once in awhile for reports from rally. Spotted one Fox mention but Neil Cavuto anchoring from Manhatttan with the handful of New Yorkers not at rally walking behind him on street.  

11:00  NYT live blog up and running. "We haven't seen a crowd like this since the inauguration," one attendee claims.  The (likely) success of this rally once again will put the lie to mainstream pundits, including the many liberal naysayers,  further diminishing what's left of their brand. But we'll see. 

10:40 Andy Borowitz notes that if Cheney was still Veep he would have declared a terror threat level "RED" for the mall today.

10:30: Luke Russert on MSNBC just called the early turnout "amazing," saying it seems well on its way to reaching the promise of the Facebook signups, over 200,000 (or 2  million, in Beck math). I have predicted stupendous turnout from the beginning and questioned the naysaying of pundits, liberal and otherwise.

10:20: No CSPAN coverage yet. MSNBC shots show sunny day and large crowd already on the mall.   Reports: AT&T service already "spotty" on the Mall.

10:15 Following Twitter reports, one placard reportedly says "This Sign Is Heavy" as competition begins for most witty.  Also reports from the Huff Post buses (or is that busses?), and Twitter pics. Arianna in a tweet claims 10,000 people on 200 vehicles. 

10:10 My first ever DC rally: the first truly giganic antiwar demo, November 15, 1969, more than quarter million strong.   Many followed. Spoke at 1995 rally to mark 50th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing.

A new edition of Greg Mitchell's award-winning "The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics" has just been published.

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