What if the media staged a stunt or helped stage a stunt―and nobody came? Would the media still cover it? Would California's governor get suckered in? In the case of the recently concluded Minuteman Project, which vowed to blockade the southern Arizona border with more than 1,000 volunteers during the entire month of April, the answer, unfortunately, was a resounding yes. For two solid weeks, thousands of news stories cascaded from the hardscrabble border zone, focusing on what was, in reality, a group of true believers whose real numbers were tiny. Though the Minuteman organizers vowed that 1,600 or more mad-as-hell volunteers had signed up for duty and that “potentially several thousands” would participate in the kickoff rallies during April Fools' weekend, turnout was an unmitigated flop―less than a tenth of the promised throngs showed up at the rallies. The entire Minuteman spectacle, indeed, easily qualified for that journalistic catchall phrase, “a fizzle,” but virtually none of the news media reported it as such. On its opening day, I could count no more than 135 participants, even at the two kickoff public rallies along the Arizona border. At one near the border town of Douglas, two dozen reporters and a handful of TV cameras swarmed over no more than 10 Minutemen―most of them sitting in lawn chairs or in pickup truck beds. During the entire kickoff weekend, the media troops clearly outnumbered the Minutemen. And in the days that followed, piecing together the various reports and reading between the lines, it's obvious that the Minuteman numbers dwindled to no more than a few dozen at a time. If that many people marched down Hollywood Boulevard for any cause, who'd report it? Indeed, only 18 days into the month long project, the effort collapsed. Predictably, a few hundred illegal immigrants had chosen not to cross in that area during the media ruckus. Minuteman organizers preposterously declared victory, claiming they had shut down the border to illegal immigration and packed off home. Even then, most news reports failed to acknowledge the project's obvious failure―which may explain why on April 28 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered sappy praise for the fiasco.