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Philadelphia Inquirer Corrects Bogus MLK Jr. Quote

CAMERA staff contacted the Philadelphia Inquirer about a bogus quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., which appeared in a column in the newspaper and was widely disseminated online after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The next day, the paper corrected. The error and correction follow:

Error(Philadelphia Inquirer, Op-Ed, Annette John-Hall, 5/3/11): As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. . . . Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that."

Correction (5/4/11):
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was incorrectly quoted in Annette John-Hall's column Tuesday. The sentence "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy," was written on a Facebook posting by Jessica Dovey, an English teacher in Japan, after the death of Osama bin Laden was announced.

Dovey's post then attributed to King, in quotation marks, sentences from his 1963 book The Strength to Love: "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Others commenting online read Dovey's post incorrectly and attributed all four sentences to King. One of those was used as a reference.

CAMERA applauds the Inquirer for its timely clearing of the record and takes the opportunity to note, once again, the speed in which falsehoods make their way across the Internet, and from there, into mainstream news media outlets.

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