As I was on the National Mall for the inauguration in the non-ticketed section, I know how the day unfolded and where my group was in relation to the photos. This is relevant as so many chances for the narrative to be corrected up until this point concerning the New York Times tweet of an apparently early photo, but it hasn’t been, by and large.
One of our group took some photos and a brief video while we were watching the speech. He had also taken a video as we walked to the back of the line on Independence Avenue (just south of the Mall). This was at 10:50 a.m.:
Our group got through in time for his speech, but there were still many behind us awaiting entry, many of whom had started on the north side of the mall but had to walk down by the Washington Monument after some northern entrances were closed by security or blocked by protesters. Signage leading up to the single entry-point was largely non-existent, especially how people were to approach the security tent (hats off, devices on, and so forth), creating a slow-moving entrance that was essentially a choke point. Combine the limited ingress points and the predictable slowdowns for out-of-towners — many with kids — once they reached the poorly organized security checkpoint apparatus, and you can see how it took a while to backfill the mall,though it did do so in due time.
Here is the brief video showing our location, as well as some photos:
Now, using the CNN gigapixel, it is relatively easy to find how far back we were. For that perspective, go to the back left of look the gigapixel, as the last TV screen and the green platform on the left side of the crowd in the CNN picture (look from the Capitol to the Washington Monument ) are on the right side in the video: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/01/politics/trump-inauguration-gigapixel/
Here is another photo:
Note also that Brit Hume, who was in the white makeshift building on the mall, tweeted his eyewitness account to the ingress and filling that occurred. This fact apparently was not relevant to the Sunday talkers, who continued to post NYT’s Appelbaum picture. Some have contended that the photo is from the 8 o’clock hour with the time stamp cropped out (with some pointing to its being curiously off-center, then posting an apparently identical photo with a time stamp on it). For more on that, other photos including even more people beyond the gigapixel (on the side, on the Monument grounds, etc.), check out the dedicated thread on CTH:
Again, I was there. I don’t have to make this up. It would have been extremely easy to point to the threats of disruption and violence (some realized and some not) and the media’s giving microphones to one agitator and resistance voice after another, the added security precautions (which included the closing of five nearby Metro stations) plus the rainy weather forecast for any dip in numbers, combined with pointing to the election returns for the president’s popularity. It would have lasted a news cycle had it been handled that way, competed with guffaws as the pundits pressed the point with the Saturday march, to which the reply would’ve again referenced the voting booth.
However, I want to bear witness to what actually happened. I don’t care if it was less than a Clinton or an Obama or a Martin Van Buren inaugural. However, the continued flogging of a media narrative with deceptive information does no one any good, and I hope this injects some reality and perspective into the situation.