A supposed “Morgan Freeman” statement on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut has gone viral in the wake of the tragedy, as people seek wise words of comfort and explanation to soothe their heartache.
The Morgan Freeman Newtown quote hoax, the text of which is copied below, pointed to media and sensationalism as the primary root cause of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, chiding people to “turn off” the news and not talk about gun control as Americans struggle to cope with a loss that is seemingly impossible to comprehend.
An earlier post on The Inquisitr about the Morgan Freeman Newtown hoax, published late Saturday night, surmised in the absence of confirmation from a rep for the venerated actor that all the hallmarks of game being run on you, the internet user, were apparent.
The Morgan Freeman Newtown hoax quote had no traceable source, rare in this era of the social web. In the case of a legitimate statement, it is usually the work of seconds to track down an original interview, no matter the age. This quote, purported to be railing against the sensationalism of the media, was never traceable to Morgan Freeman.
What’s more is when Freeman does speak about politics, he nearly always espouses a liberal point-of-view and is a vocal supporter of Barack Obama. In our estimation, Freeman is unlikely to try to halt a discussion on gun control in the wake of the 27 murders in Newtown, Connecticut.
Now The Wrap has confirmed what we suspected to be true all along — Morgan Freeman didn’t use the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy as occasion to indict the media for glorifying crimes.
And whether or not you believe the statement to be true, using someone’s authority or trust to push forward an opinion is wrong and unfair to that person, famous or not. Teddy Roosevelt said that.
No, he didn’t, but surely you get the point.
Stan Rosenfield, a publicist for Freeman, confirms that the actor didn’t make the statement and says his camp is trying to determine the origin of the hoax. And The Wrap links back to a screengrab we obtained from Reddit, on which a user says that the viral “Morgan Freeman” Newtown statement stemmed from a Facebook joke between friends that attaching “Morgan Freeman” or “Betty White” to a post gives it credibility.
The Facebook jokers are not the problem, however, as there is no indication they genuinely believed that the lie about Morgan Freeman and his views on the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting would grow legs and start running before the truth could get its boots on.
But you, internet, should slow your roll and take these things with a grain of salt. Sure, you may agree and want to share the sentiment. Share it as “wise words,” or good perspective or whatever else it meant to you — but don’t drag Morgan Freeman or Betty White into it. They deserve to make their own thoughts known. Below, the original hoax statement attributed falsely to Morgan Freeman.
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.