Jon Stewart Rally More than Doubles, Almost Triples, Glenn Beck Rally in Attendance – Message?

215,000 vs. 87,000:

An estimated 215,000 people attended a rally organized by Comedy Central talk show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Saturday in Washington, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News.

The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance at the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which took place on the Mall in Washington. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent.

CBS News also commissioned AirPhotosLive.com to do a crowd estimate of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in August. That rally was estimated to have attracted 87,000 people. Amid criticism from conservatives that the estimate was low, CBS News detailed the methodology behind it here.

Lazy media and observers might package Jon Stewart v. Glenn Beck as simply left v. right. I don’t. I look at it as sane, civil, inclusive, and information-based v. reactionary, divisive, and fear-based.

That said, do you think there is a message in the fact that the Jon Stewart rally more than doubled the Glenn Beck rally in attendance? Do more people see a need for a new-found civility and sanity in our public discourse than respond to Glenn Beck’s feverish acrimony? Or is it just happenstance that a lot more people showed up – maybe people were just more available this weekend?

Also, for those who might dislike Jon Stewart for whatever reason, forget the messenger for a second and let me know what you think: do you think we need more civility and sanity and factuality in our public discourse or are things fine the way they are (a status quo in which the occasional head stomp occurs)? What say you, RMGers?

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