A headline quoted at Drudge makes the following claim:

Protesters in over 400 cities march vs MONSANTO...

Really? That sounds like quite a movement. I didn’t know that many people cared. So I checked out the AP story, and — lo and behold — the source of the “news” was revealed in the first sentence:

LOS ANGELES — (AP) Organizers say two million people marched in protest against seed giant Monsanto in hundreds of rallies across the U.S. and in over 50 other countries on Saturday.

“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they wanted to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Founder and organizer Tami Canal said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries.

Organizers said?

A statement from activists about their own activities is dutifully reported as news?

“Founder and organizer Tami Canal” (assuming that is a real name of a real person) is also quoted as saying that “two million” responded to her Facebook page. (Really? So how come there are only just over 1100 “likes”?)

Nice to know that everything has been all verified and checked out by the armies of fact checkers at the MSM.

Such misleading reporting is so typical and mundane these days that I wouldn’t have bothered with post, but seeing the headline at Drudge reminded me of a local news report about what is very generously called a protest march here in Ann Arbor.

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Ann Arbor Saturday to protest the use of genetically modified foods. The protest, dubbed the March Against Monsanto began on the University of Michigan Diag at 1 p.m. and ended at Hanover Square Park on Packard Street.

Monsanto is a $ billion St. Louis, Mo.-based agriculture technology company that sells, among other things, genetically modified seeds for farming. It says its products pose no risk to humans.

People of all ages, including children, were among the protesters, many of whom carried signs with messages like “My family’s food is not your experiment,” and “Do you know what you are eating?” One little girl wore a sign around her neck stating, “I am not a science experiment.”

Ah, a a little girl not wanting to be experimented upon! How touching is that?

The thing is, Ann Arbor is one of the most left wing places in the United States, and the reporters here can be expected to be reliable in cooperating with the left wing agenda. Still, I’m curious to know whether “hundreds of people” did in fact turn out, or whether that is once again a figure given by the organizers themselves, and dutifully reported verbatim.

While pictures are not conclusive proof of anything, I think that a very telling clue can be found in the accompanying picture of the march:

If we assume that the reporters were in fact doing their job in covering the march, and that this is an accurate photo of it, I’m just not seeing “hundreds” of people there. I count around 15, and even if we make allowances for stragglers on the sidewalk behind,  there’s no way that there are hundreds. Dozens, perhaps. And even that is generous, I’ll grudgingly grant that the organizers were able to assemble dozens.

In Ann Arbor.

What fascinates me are the dynamics at work if we suppose this is a pattern. A dozen here, and a dozen there, and hey, pretty soon we might be talking about a few hundred people. Out of a country of 300 million. Yet these measly protests are being taken deadly seriously by policy makers at national and local levels.

Ever wonder how so few people are able to achieve so much influence over so many?

They have help.