These past 24 hours have not been kind to CNN, to put it mildly, and now it appears that they have made another horrendous mistake: tweeting out two fake quotes.
CNN Politics tweeted out various quotes influential Americans on the Fourth of July, including these from Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin:
There's just one problem: the quotes seem to be fake.
Mollie Hemingway did some digging and was able to find two Lincoln quotes that are similar to what CNN tweeted out but not quite the same:
- "Let them know the truth, and the country is safe."
- "Let the people know the facts, let them see the danger; but let every effort be made to allay public fears, to inspire the masses with confidence and hope, and, above all, to frown down every attempt to create a panic."
The first quote is in reference to opposition to the Civil War; the second is warning against creating public hysteria. And neither is what CNN tweeted out.
"The conflation of 'facts' and 'truth' is perfect," wrote Hemingway. "Facts can be manipulated. Truth is much more difficult to attain. It might be factual that intelligence chiefs briefed President-elect Trump about a Russian dossier, for instance. But whether that fact is used to spin a Russian conspiracy hoax is where truthfulness is important."
And as Hemingway noted, CNN has been pushing conspiracies of Trump-Russia collusion for months despite zero evidence showing that this collusion took place, which would fly against Lincoln's warning in the second quote.
To be fair, the Newseum features the same Lincoln quote that CNN tweeted out, so it's easy to how CNN might have assumed that it was accurate. However, any responsible news outlet should do some digging for confirmation and CNN clearly did not do that in this instance.
CNN has no such excuse for the Franklin quote, which Hemingway noted is actually a quote "from British writers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, authors of Cato’s Letters." Oops.
No wonder CNN's ratings are tanking.