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

(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.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters on August 28, 1963 from the Lincoln Memorial on the Mal.
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters on August 28, 1963 from the Lincoln Memorial on the Mal.   (Getty Images)
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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. - Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

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