MLK, Twain Misquotes Go Viral After bin Laden Death
Facebook, Twitter users swap bogus quotes
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2011 4:43 AM CDT
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters on August 28, 1963 from the Lincoln Memorial on the Mal.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A seemingly apt Martin Luther King Jr. comment quoted by people responding to the killing of Osama bin Laden quickly went viral via Facebook and Twitter. Just one problem: it wasn't accurate. The quote beginning "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy" spread rapidly across social media in the wake of bin Laden's death before anybody realized King never said part of it. Facebook user Jessica Dovey added that line before a real King quote—in quotation marks—and it went viral after one of her friends shared it with the quotation marks shifted to include her comment, CNN reports.

Entertainer Penn Jillette tweeted the incorrect quote to his 1.6 million followers before correcting it. Many people responded to the King/Dovey quote with a quote attributed to Mark Twain: "I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction." Those words were actually said by Clarence Darrow.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
May 5, 2011 9:24 AM CDT
Twitter users lack historical accuracy? Well there's a huge surprise. In other news, text messages lack proper spelling a grammar. More at 11
May 4, 2011 1:00 PM CDT
It's fun watching the self-righteous and sanctimonious walk on their crank.
May 4, 2011 6:49 AM CDT
The one I like that's "resurfaced" is the Bush attributed "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." Another "nice try" but when asked to produce the interview where it was supposedly said get quiet real fast.