TikTok users and K-pop fans took credit on Sunday for keeping the crowd size smaller than usual for President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday night. But the campaign says it was fear-mongering by the press that kept people away.

Trump campaign manager Brad Pascale blamed media coverage for the smaller turnout.

“The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally,” he wrote in a statement issued on Sunday.

An estimated 6,000 people attended the lively rally at the BOK Center stadium, a far smaller turnout than what had been anticipated given the 1.2 million requests for tickets in advance of the event. Six thousand would be considered a fairly decent crowd for most politicians, but for a Trump rally, it was small.

Parscale said TikTok users and K-pop fans had no impact on the crowd size. It was suggested that they got control of a good number of tickets to the event and then sat on them. Pascale said that's not how it works.

“What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required,” he said.

Media-driven fears of violent protests and the spread of COVID-19 are believed to have kept some would-be rally goers home. For others, the long security screening process prevented them from getting into the stadium in time for the event.

The media has influence. It can deter folks from turning out for a campaign event in Tulsa but can it influence those same people from turning out in November to vote? I guess we'll have to see but don't bet on it.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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