Fake Ouotes and
A Common Extremist TacticQuoting the famous for polemical purposes has been done by people residing
in all parts of the political spectrum. Distorting quotations or actually concocting
quotes or documents out of whole cloth has been a much-employed tactic by
extremists, especially those of the right. While American leftists have used spuriosities of that sort sparingly, groups and individuals on the far right have raised
such utilizations to a high art form. Probably this is more often done in ignorance;
that is, quote users believe that the words "fit the situation" and simply use them
without checking on authenticity. It is also the case that spurious quotes and
documents have been put into print by people knowing all too well of their
phoniness, but who nevertheless thrust them on the public in the name of a great
ideological cause. Senator Joseph McCarthy was known to have concocted at
least two nonquotes. Receiving the widest circulation was his pseudo-Leninism:
"The world cannot exist half slave and half free. It must be all slave."The question arises as to how one determines whether a quote/document is
fake. Some are not hard to spot because they border on the ridiculous: "There
is only one way to kill capitalism--taxes, taxes, and more taxes," attributed to Karl Marx. Most, however, require at least a fair amount of research. Oft times
the researcher cannot be certain and must be satisfied with the preponderance of
the evidence. In some instances, however, one may be fortunate enough to discover
the origin of a fake or find that a real quote has been distorted. Occasionally,
the words were actually said, but not by the person to whom they have been attributed.Two important points:
|1. ||When the authenticity of a quotation is in question, the burden of proof
is on the user, not on the questioner.|
|2. ||Quotes/ documents should never be used unless they can be documented.
The following list of quotations/ documents are coded in this manner:|
|C = Certain that the quote is fake.|
|P = Probable that the quote is fake.|
|Q = Questionable that the quote is real.|
|D = Distortion--words left out, changed or added; not in context.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe:Political Extremism in America.
Contributors: John George - Author, Laird Wilcox - Author.
Publisher: Prometheus Books.
Place of publication: Buffalo, NY.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 415.
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