A statement on the Newton, Conn. tragedy attributed to actor Morgan Freeman has been debunked as fake.
The statement, which appeared on Saturday and began lighting up on Facebook and Twitter, blamed the media for the mass shootings that seem all too common. The statement was as follows:
You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why … It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine?
Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children?
Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody … CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up,” this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another.
Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell.
So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next … You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.
In addition, there were some reporting a slightly different version of the quote. Either way, the quote was false, and not coming from the 75-year-old actor, at all.
When asked to confirm if — or if not — Freeman made the statement in question, a spokesperson for the 75-year-old actor said,
He did not write nor release this statement. To date he has not released any statement [about the shooting].
Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14. He shot and killed 20 children (12 girls and 8 boys, all aged six or seven) and six adults. Lanza took his own life after the shootings. He had also killed his mother in their home earlier that day, and used some guns from her cache of weapons for the massacre.
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